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(Biographical  Dictionary  of 

Carnatic  Composers  &  Musicians) 

(Book  II) 

N.  RAJAGOPALAN,  I.A.S.  (Rtd.) 

(with  an  article  by  Dr.  (Prof.)  B.  Ramamurthi) 



3,  24th  Cross  Street, 

Indira  Nagar, 
Madras-600  020,  India. 

if  if 


j  by AUTHOR 

'In   1990   N.    Rajagopalan  created   history  by  publishing   the  first  volt 
'  A  Garland  '  ...  it  is  a  thesaurus  containing  the  critical  accounts  of  over  ' 
artistes.    It    surpassed    all   the    earlier    works   of   a   similar    nature    by 
comprehensiveness,  analytical  approach  and  musical  insight...  Another GarL 
will  be  '  Another  Bonanza  J  to  the  music  world  and  it  is  now  its  duty  to  salute 
for  his  dedication  and  perseverance.  ' 

—  T.S.  Parthasars 
Music  Academy,  Mac 

'  Precious  golden  volume,  richest  treasure,  an  object  of  delicious 

pleasure  that  breathes  history,  delves  into  the  labyrinths  of 

music...  It  whets  one's  appetite  for  the  Book  II.1 

—  Dr.  Sakuntala  Rajenc 
Editor,  '  Shanmuki 

—-—«-'  — •;  Very  happy  Another  Garland  will  come  out  very  soon. 

*   '....  *r  v<  •>/',.  f£'*?W  •  '*'&.        .  .... 

GEN'  : 

€  arty  congratulations  and  felicitations. 

—  Prof.  T.N.  Krishnan, 
Vice  Chairman, 
Sancjit  Natak  Akademy,  De 

Typeset  by 
Printed  in  India  by 
Published  by 

First  Edition  92/93 

Chengacherial  Printers,  Madras-29 

Prakash  Packagers,  257-Goiaganj,  Lucknow-22601 

Carnatic  Classicals, 

3,  24th  Cross  Street, 

Indira  Nagar,  Madras-600  020,  India. 


1 200  Copies 

Price :  Rs.  2 

6YVQjrri£l&><srr     jv     mi   in 


^f  rrnrggG&nrunrGVGsr 
300  & 


-  631  502 
:  11.6.1992. 

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A  galaxy  of  composers,  musicians,  musicologists  and  hymnodists  have 
played  a  vital  and  impressive  part  in  the  evolution  and  development  of  the 
science  and  art  of  our  Carnatic  music  -  from  Bharata,  Narada  and  Illango  to  Ravi 
Kiran,  U.  Srinivas  and  Shashank.  Magnificent  artistes  like  Maha  Vaidyanatha 
Ayyar,  Tanjore  Quartette,  Arunachala  Kavirayar,  Gopala  Krishna  Bharati, 
Uthukadu  Venkatasubba  Ayyar,  Papanasam  Sivan,  Vina  Balachander, 
S.G.  Kittappa  and  K.B.  Sundarambal  and  the  happily  present  vidwans  like 
Semmangudi  Dr,  Srinivasa  Ayyar,  Dr,  M.S.  Subbulakshmi,  Smt.  O.K.  Pattammal, 
Dr.  Balamurali  Krishna,  Shri,  Lalgudi  Jayaraman  and  Prof.  T.N.  Krishnan  have 
all  played  a  highly  distinguished  part. 

Shri.  N.  Rajagopalan  has  the  credit  of  bringing  out  the  first-ever  gargantuan 
Biographical  Dictionary  of  Carnatic  Composers  and  Musicians  in  English  titled 
1  A  Garland '  in  1990  presenting  exhaustive  accounts  of  the  lives  of  over  seven 
hundred  artistes.  I  find  that  it  has  been  very  well  received  and  excellently 
reviewed  by  competent  authorities.  The  author  is  following  it  up  with  his  second 
book  titled  appropriately  as  '  Another  Garland  '  containing  over  350  lives.  The 
two  '  Garlands  '  thus  cover  well  over  a  thousand  lives,  a  formidable  number 

The  author,  in  his  Preface,  recalls  the  memorable  words  of  Ben  Johnson  - 

'  For,  where  his  person  liv'd  scarce  one  just  age, 
And  that,  'midst  envy  and  parts;  then  fell  by  rage; 
His  dream  too  dying. 

But  in  books  ... 

To  all  future  time,  not  only  doth  restore 
His  life,  but  makes  that  he  can  die  no  more.' 

The  truth  of  the  statement  could  not  be  better  illustrated  than  by  a 
Biographical  Dictionary  giving  succinct  accounts  of  the  noble  side  of  the  lives  of 
the  devotees  of  Nada  Yoga  and  Nadopasana.  The  articles  in  Part  I  of  the  Book 
and  the  notes  in  Part  III  present  a  wealth  of  information.  Chronological  table, 
definitions  and  index  make  it  a  complete  source,  book  of  reference,  a  ready 
reckoner  and  a  book  of  treasure.  I  congratulate  the  author  for  the  immense 
labour  and  expense  he  has  put  in  and  for  presenting  this  treasure  for  the 
reference  of  musicians,  music-lovers,  teachers,  students  and  researchers.  I  am 
happy  to  commend  this  Another  Garland  to  the  musical  fraternity. 

Madras  -1 .  M.  GOPALAKRISHNAN 

April  28,  1992,  Chairman  and  Managing  Director, 

Indian  Bank. 




(H.H.  Sri  ChandrasekharendraSaraswati,  Paramacharyal,  Kanchi  Kamakoti 
Sankaracharya  Mutt,  Kanchipuram  has  given  expression  to  the  following  golden 
observations  in  his  lectures,  some  of  which  are  brought  out  by  Vanathi 
Padippagam  in  the  admirable  and  soulful  book  Veivathin  Kural'ln  tamil.) 

L         Appar,  the  Saivite  canonized  saint,  has  compared  Divine  Presence  to  - 

Flawless  Veena  rendition  Flush  of  autumn  bloom  and 

Exhilarant  evening  full  moon  Lotus-studded  pond  with  bees  humming  around. 

Rejuvenating  southerly  breeze 

The  point  here  is  the  pre-eminent  position  given  by  Appar  to  good  veena 
play.  The  Paramacharyal  reminds  us  all  of  the  spiritual  message  and  benefits  of 
chaste  music  rendition.  Appar's  hymn  reads: 

'  Magll  veenaiyum,  ma/a/  madhiyamum 
Veesu  thendralum  veengila  venilum 
Moosu  vandaraip  poigaiyum  pondradfie 
Eesan  Endai  Enayadi  nizhafe.' 

\\.  Sage  Yagnavalkya,  who  gave  Dharma  Sastra,  says  that  'A/ac/opasana1 
through  blemishless  veena  play  ensuring  purity  of  sruti  and  accuracy  of 
laya  leads  the  devotee  along  the  sure  path  of  Salvation  even  without 

Dhyana,  ^  Tapas  and 

Yoga,  Poojah. 

Veena  Vadana  Thathvagnah  grutijathi  vigaratah  I 

Thalakagnascha  aprayatnena  mokshamarge  sa  gacchati. '  1 1 

\\\.  In  his  "Soundarya  Laharf,  Adi  Sankaracharya  describes  how  the  musical 
scales  -  Sadja  gramam,  Madhyama  gramam  and  Gandhara  gramam  — 
have  their  origin  in  the  neck  of  the  Goddess.  (Sloka  'Gale  rekha,  thisre...*) 

iv.  The  Goddess  of  Learning,  Devi  Saraswati  is  the  source  of  veena  play.  Poet 
Kalidasa,  in  his  lNavaratnamala\  brings  to  notice  that  Goddess  Parasakti 
too  plays  on  veena  and  gets  lost  in  the  seven  swaras  -  thus  becoming  the 
Symbol  of  Tranquility  and  Gracious  Heart; 

1  Sarigamapadani  rafam  tarn 
Veena  sankranta  kanta  hasfanfam. ' 

'Santam  mrudula  swantam 
Kungabharafanfam  namami  sivakanfam. ' 

The  soul  of  the  devotee  who  prays  with  chaste  music  is  blessed  by  the 
Goddess.  The  individual  soul  merges-in  the  Universal  Soul,  the  Paramatma. 



1  COMMENCED  the  yagna  of  bringing  out  the  first-ever,  gargantuan 
Biographical  Dictionary  of  Carnatic  Composers,  Vocalists,  Instrumentalists, 
Musicologists  and  Hymnodists  in  the  month  of  Margasirsha  (Dhanus),  extolled 
as  the  chosen  month  of  God,  December  1987.  The  first  book  titled  'A  Garland' 
was  graciously  released  by  H.H.  the  Sankaracharya  of  Kanchi-Kamakoti 
Peetam,  Sri  Jayendra  Saraswati  Swamigal,  as  a  Bharatiya  Vidya  Bhavan 
publication  on  June  19,  1990,  the  first  copy  being  received  by  Sri  Haridhos  Giri 
Swamigal,  perhaps  the  lone  crusading  Bhagavata  Maha  Purusha  now.  It  covers 
the  lives  of  over  seven  hundred  artistes  both  of  the  illustrious  past  and  the 
memorable  present.  It  has  been  acclaimed  as  a  definitive  source  book  of 
reference,  a  monumental  dictionary,  a  ready-reckoner  and  an  unparalleled 
treasure.  Excerpts  of  the  reviews  find  a  place  in  Part  III  F  of  this  book.  Since  the 
first  book  could  not  naturally  cover  the  galaxy  in  entirety,  this  second  book  titled 
'Another  Garland  is  presented  (to  be  followed  by  'Yet  Another  Garland'  in  due 
course  since  quite  a  number  of  artistes  do  not  find  time  to  give  details  ). 

Classical  Carnatic  music  is  but  the  continuance  of  ancient  Indian  music  as 
it  was  prior  to  the  advent  of  Persian  influence  and  the  attendant  evolution  of  the 
Hindustani  style.  The  tamil  areas  in  the  South  had  from  pre-historic  times  a 
well-developed,  scientific,  distinct  sytle  known  as  Pann.  The  Indian  (later  called 
the  'Carnatic'  from  the  days  of  the  work  Manasollasa)  and  the  Tamil  Pann  had 
coalesced  invisibly  during  the  middle  ages  and  presently  the  South  has  the 
Carnatic  music  and  the  North  has  the  Hindustani  music  -  of  course,  both 
raga-based  with  common  and  distinct  features.  The  Garland  Series  brings  to 
focus  the  illustrious  lives  of  artistes  expounding  the  Carnatic  style. 

Classical  music  in  India  has  fundamentally  been  the  handmaid  of  spiritual 
savants  and  apostles  for  self-realisation  and  propagation  of  spiritual  message. 
Though  for  some  music  may  be  professional,  it  has  continued  to  be  subordinated 
to  the  primary,  ambrosial  objective  of  spiritual  enlightenment  and  advancement. 
'Our  ancients  realised  (the  power  of  music)  almost  at  the  very  dawn  of  our 
history...  soon  found  that  the  Gods  were  more  easily  gratified  by  the  singing  of 
the  poetic  hymns  called  Riks  and  they  produced  the  Sama  Veda...  Bharata 
says  that  Brahma  extracted  the  art  and  science  of  music  from  Sama  Veda. 
(Dr.  V.  Raghavan).  If  classical  music  is  Nada  Upasana  for  the  yogi  in  musician, 
it  is  solace  and  soulful  joy  (brahmananda)  both  to  the  initiated  and  the  lay. 
Fortunately  education  or  training  is  no  pre-requisite  to  surrender  one's  soul  to 
melody.  Aapaaya  Nayanar's  enchanting  life  (page  274  in  A  Garland)  is  an  apt 
and  ideal  illustration  and  consummation  of  the  magic  lure  and  ennobling  spell 
of  melody. 


Till  the  demise  of  the  Second  World  War,  the  average  Indian  was  basically 
wedded  to  spiritual  endeavours  to  the  neglect  of  materialistic  pursuits  and  profit. 
The  marriage  of  Man  and  Art  was  complete  and  harmonious  and  music 
flourished  in  a  salubrious  climate.  The  classical  prospered  with  the  folk  music 
side  by  side  both  being  patronised  by  royalty,  landed  aristocracy  and  temples. 
All  the  air,  the  aroma  of  music  held  benevolent  sway.  In  fact,  music  was  prasada 
to  one  and  all,  high  and  low,  copiously  distributed  irrespective  of  caste,  creed  or 
race  as  music  was  free  for  all  like  air  and  water.  Temples  reverberated  with  vocal 
and  instrumental  music  daily.  Dramas,  concerts  and  dances  were  in  the  open 
dishing  out  classical  music  in  plenty  and  continuously  to  reach  every  man  at  his 
home  and  street !  Whether  it  be  Ekadashi  or  Sivaratri,  Rama  Navami  or  Krishna 
Jayanti,  marriage  or  funeral,  success  or  defeat,  music  was  made  with  foresight 
sine  qua  non.  No  nation  or  art  can  sustain  itself  nor  can  it  flourish  with  dwarfs 
with  a  mere  one  or  two  of  tall  stature.  Galaxy  of  giants  appeared  on  the  scene 
from  time  to  time  to  rejuvenate  the  art  and  reorient  the  science  -  Vide  the 
chronological  table  in  Part  IV.  National  genius  presented  successive  waves  of 
illustrious  breeds  of  composers,  musicians  and  musicologists  who  kept  the 
musical  fire  and  flame  bright.  The  endeavour  and  vocation  constituted  a  multi- 
dimensional effort  to  inculcate  spiritual  values,  enlighten  people,  spread  art  and 
culture  and  incidentally  provide  occupation  and  entertainment  nearer  home.  In 
fact  the  scheme  of  founding  temples  had  the  same  profound  socio-economic- 
cultural  bias  in  India.  That  was  the  underlying  concept  of  Village  Swaraj  pure 
and  simple.  Temples  were  the  fulcra  around  which  the  lives  of  the  people 
revolved.  The  environment  was  so  sublime  and  all-pervasive  that  even  a  fanatic 
Aurangazeb  could  hardly  find  any  means  of  avoiding  and  averting  music  and 
could  not  find  the  royal  writ,  place  or  the  means  to  bury  it.  That  was  the  prime 
reason  for  the  monstrous  intensity  of  his  rage.  There  were  fields  of  hereditary 
specialisation  and  implied  division  of  labour  as  in  the  cases  of  hymnodists 
(odhuvars),  nagaswara  artistes  and  dancers.  It  is  significant  that  renowned 
composers  and  musicians  came  up  like  the  sixty-three  Saivite  Apostles 
(Nayanmars)  from  among  the  different  strata  of  society  since  music  was 
intrinsically  a  communal  asset  all  along  and  free  for  all.  That  was  Bharath, 
the  Dharmabhoomi,  the  Mokshabhoomi  wherein  people  from  Nandanar  to 
Narada  flourished. 

The  reducing  tempo  of  services  and  festivals  at  temples  during  the  last  four 
decades,  the  invasion  and  onslaught  of  mike-based  cheap  music,  the  migration 
of  artistes  to  crowded  urban  centres  and  concentration  of  all  musical  endeavours 
in  a  few  metropolitan  centres  robbed  and  deprived  the  millions  in  the  vast 
slumbering  rural  tracts  of  all  exposure  to  classical  music  leaving  them  musical 
agnostics.  The  shifting  of  music  from  temples  and  dramas  from  street  corners 
and  river  beds  to  sabhas  and  chambers  stifled  the  growth  of  classical  music. 
Classical  music  can  flourish  in  its  native  charm,  grandeur  and  glory  only  in  an 
atmosphere  of  wprantfand  not  in  the  polluted,  dusty  turmoil  of  noisy  towns  and 
cities.  The  latter  can  hope  to  nourish  it  for  a  while  but  not  nurse  it 


through.  As  it  is  with  grains  and  primary  products,  the  city  can  consume  but 
not  hope  to  create  music.  Classical  music  based  on  improvisation  has  no  future 
unless  the  imbalance  is  remedied  and  the  rural  reorientation  is  soon 
accomplished.  George  Ade  said  with  rustic  humour  — 

1  In  the  city,  a  funeral  is  just  an  interruption  of  traffic; 
but  in  the  country,  it  is  a  form  of  entertainment .  ' 

Even  so,  rural  India  certainly  provides  the  appropriate  environment  and 
atmosphere  needed  and  the  psychological  and  emotional,  mental  ar>d  moral 
influences  for  inculcating  and  imbibing  music.  The  ultimate  marketing  may  be  in 
urban  and  rural  centres  but  training  and  apprenticeship  should  be 

To  subserve  this,  corporate  aids  and  scholarships  are  to  be  canalised  to 
restore  to  rural  areas  their  legitimate  share  of  music  schools,  concerts,  fairs  and 
festivals.  Temples  should  play  their  part  as  before  and  youth  associations  should 
distribute  their  services  and  concerts  among  rural  centres.  Urban  monopoly, 
urban-oriented  artistes  with  one  leg  in  music  and  another  in  jobs  and  casuals 
can  never  sustain  the  soul  of  the  art  for  long.  The  tragedy  of  sickness  overtaking 
the  ambrosial,  divine  classical  art  has  tp  be  averted. 

As  stated  above,  rulers  and  landed  aristocracy  vied  with  each  other  in  their 
patronage  of  composers  and  musicians  and  the  cyclical  patronage  of  royal 
courts  at  Vijayanagar,  Tanjore,  Trivandrum,  Pudukottai,  Mysore,  Ettayapuram, 
etc.,  is  worthy  of  being  written  in  letters  of  gold.  Temples  provided  the  basic 
stamina  at  grass  roots  to  nagaswara  artistes  and  hymnodists  in  general  and 
other  musicians  at  festivals.  These  lent  name,  fame  and  stature  to  the  artistes 
without  doubt.  It  is  also  an  undeniable  fact  that  most  of  the  artistes  lived 
strangers  to  material  affluence.  They  forgot  their  pangs  of  poverty  and  pain  of 
hunger  in  yogic  pursuits  in  the  realm  of  melody.  As  beautifully  observed  by 
M.S.Golwalker : 

'India  opted  for  the  wealth  of  perfection,  virtues  and  sublimity  of  the  soul,  which  is  real 
and  abiding;  and  no  wonder  great  heroes  and  monarchs  have  worshipped  the  dust  of 
the  feet  of  half-naked  sanyasins  who  rose  above  selfish  interests  in  the  cause  of 

The  prime  beneficiary,  the  Indian  Society  had  the  vision  and  nobility  to  glorify 
Eminence  entrenched  in  Indigence  and  raised  to  immortality  the  dichotomy  of  nebulous 
earthly  existence  and  weighty  contributions  in  art,  science  and  literature  and  their 
coparcenary.  The  torch-bearers  of  Classical  music  took  pride  in  such  a  paradoxical 
existence ;  and  unselfish  nadopasana  took  music  not  only  to  the  temple  prakaras  and 
bhajan  mandals  quantitatively  but  also  to  the  pinnacle  of  excellence  and  public 
acknowledgment  as  if  in  a  quid  pro  quo.  The  position  is  not  much  different  even  now. 
A  few  musicians  may,  perhaps,  revel  in  comparative  prosperity;  quite  a  number  stand 
stopped  at  the  portals  of  affluence  while  a  vast  majority  have  little  access  to  it. 


It  is  a  tragic  fact  of  life  that  luck,  opportunity  and  patronage  bless  but  a 
chosen  few.  Taking  public  life  for  comparison,  Satyamurti,  connoisseur, 
office-bearer  of  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  and  the  most  remarkable 
parliamentarian  was  not  destined  to  become  a  Chief  Minister  as  hoped  for. 
Sardar  Patel  shaped  Independent  India  but  was  not  chosen  for  conferment  of 
Bharat  Ratna  till  at  last  he  was  found  fit  forty-five  years  later  by  a  minority 
government  for  posthumous  honour!  Lai  Bahadur  Sastri  ascended  the  gadi  but 
the  cruel  hand  of  Death  sniffed  out  his  'life  at  the  time  of  his  glory  on  alien  soil. 
How  many  V.I.  Ps.  visit  his  samadhi  ?  ThatSimizhi  Sundaram  Ayyar,  Mudicondan 
Venkatarama  Ayyar  and  a  host  of  others  were  side-lined  is  well-known.  The 
Garlands  shall  accord  them  a  true  berth  since,  in  the  words  of  Ben  Johnson,  - 

"  For,  where  his  person  liv'd  scarce  one  just  age, 
And  that,  'midst  envy  and  parts;  then  fell  by  rage; 
His  deeds  too  dying. 

But  in  books  ... 

To  all  future  time,  not  only  doth  restore 
His  life,  but  makes  that  he  can  die  no  more." 

Rulers  and  Aristocracy  were  not  necessarily  the  standard-bearers  of  culture. 
In  India,  it  was  the  saint,  sage  and  the  artiste,  who  'rose  above  the  mundane 
temptations  of  pelf  and  power'  and  dedi<5ated  their  all  to  art,  culture  and  society, 
that  were  the  torch-bearers.  The  'gurukulavasa}  scheme  was  born  out  of  this 
lofty  inspiring  climate,  It  prospered  here  from  before  the  days  of  the  Ramayana 
and  the  Mahabharata  till  it  was  strangulated  in  the  recent  past  and  with  it  went 
the  unique  blend  of  the  sire-son. relationship  with  the  boon  of  the  teacher-student 
nexus.  At  Kurukshetra,  when  Arjuna  directed  the  first  five  arrows  to  the  feet  of 
Bhishma,  the  charioteer  felt  amused  but  the  wise  Bhishma  exclaimed,  'My 
beloved  Arjuna  is  prostrating  before  me  with  all  his  five  pranas  seeking  my 
blessings*.  Arjuna  entertained  the  same  respect  to  his  preceptor  Drona. 
Fortunately  we  have  amidst  us  some  elder  musicians  who  had  tasted  the  rigours 
and  fruits  of  the  now  defunct  system  and  it  has  been  my  earnest  endeavour  to 
bring  their  lives  to  record.  The  difficulty  lies  in  getting  the  details  since,  in  the 
words  of  Sir  C.P.  Ramaswami  Ayyar,  The  self-imposed  anonymity  and 
self-effacement  of  Indian  Art  is  one  of  the  standing  miracles  of  all  times'. 

Some  top  musicians  introduced  novelties  in  presenting  concerts  during  the 
Music  Festival  1991-92  with  orchestra  as  we  have  had  brief  spells  of 
Rajarathinam  with  tambur  and  mridangam,  Sarabha  with  tavil  (of  course, 
unavoidably),  Kunnakudi  Vaidyanathan  and  Mandolin  Srinivas  with  tavil.  A 
Bangalore  artiste  is  reported  to  be  giving  Classical  Carnatic  music  concerts  to 
the  beat  of  jazz  percussion  and  jazz  band  !  Of  course,  it  may  be  argued  that 
one  worships  the  Lord  Siva  and  not  the  cordon  of  demons  (boothaganas), 
prostrates  before  the  deity  and  not  the  palanquin-bearers  and  pays  obeisance 
to  the  guru-saint  and  not  those  who  fan  him  ;  and  likewise  the  principal  artiste 
and  his  contribution  alone  should  count,  But  the  quality  and  the  strength  of 


accompanists  do  contribute  much  to  the  wealth  of  the  music  rendered,  to  the 
success  or  otherwise  of  the  concert  in  bringing  out  the  soul  of  music  to  elevate, 
ennoble  and  enlighten  the  audience.  The  despicable  reed  survives  the  storm 
as  it  sways  with  it  but  the  mighty  oak  falls  as  it  stands  rigidly.'  Classicism  has  a 
science,  tradition  and  an  image  with  consequential  constraints  and  need  to 
safeguard  its  purity  and  integrity.  Orchestra  may  entertain  but  Classical 
music  enlightens  and  elevates.  How  far  the  infiltration  of  orchestra  could  be 
countenanced  is  to  be  analysed  to  guard  against  the  mighty  oak  falling  down. 
Crude  experiments  may  be  injurious  because  of  imitation  and  profit.  A  patient 
was  emotionally  shattered  driven  by  the  illusion  of  the  nearby  banyan  tree 
crashing  down  on  ,his  head.  To  disabuse  his  mind,  the  tree  was  stealthily 
removed  when  he  was  under  anaesthesia.  Startled  to  see  it  absent  on  waking 
up,  the  poor  man  screemed,  'Lo  !  you  had  fallen  on  my  head  and  crushed  it  P 
and  died  of  shock.  Let  not  noisy  orchestra  annihilate  the  mild  and  soft  classical 
breed  based  on  improvisation. 

I  solicit  a  reference  to  my  preface  to  the  first  book  (reproduced  next).  A 
glossary,  chronological  table  of  artistes,  bibliography,  definitions  and  an  index 
to  biographies  in  both  the  books  find  place  in  Part  IV  to  assist  musicians, 
music-lovers,  students  and  researchers. 

Part  III-F  carries  an  addenda  and  corrigenda  to  '/A  Garland  updating  the 
details  which  may  be  read  as  part  of  the  first  book.  They  will  be  incorporated 
in  the  revised  edition  of  Book  I. 

The  period  1990-1992  has  witnessed  many  renowned  musicians  bidding 
adieu  to  the  stage  of  Classical  Carnatic  music.  Dr.  Semmangudi  Srinivasa 
Ayyar,  the  senior-most  Sangita  Kalanidhi  and  veteran  hailed  as  the  'Bhishma', 
announced  his  retirement  in  April  1992  after  sixty-six  eventful,  record-breaking 
performing  career.  He  commenced  his  career  in  1926,  one  year  earlier  to  the 
advent  of  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  and  perhaps  he  is  the  first  great  artiste 
who  has  announced  his  retirement!  Where  is  the  question  of  retirement  in 
politics  and  music?  His  announcement  is  without  doubt  historic!  (I  have  a 
particular  interest  in  this  as  he  happens  to  be  the  'son-in-law  of  my  village',  if 
the  expression  is  permissible.)  May  the  sage-counsel  of  the  maestro  continue 
to  be  available  as  his  retirement  is  only  as  a  performing  artiste. 

O.K.  Jayaraman,  a  Sangita  Kalanidhi,  the  soft  prince  among  prominent 
musicians  died  unfortunately  in  January  1991  -just  seventeen  days  after  he 
was  crowned  at  the  Music  Academy  leaving  scores  of  disciples  and  a  vast 
assembly  of  admirers,  'whose  pang  is  bitter,  oft-times  bitter,  when  they  recollect 
his  loss'.  Dr.  M.L.  Vasanthakumari,  another  Sangita  Kalanidhi  and  one  of  the 
performing  Lady-Trinity,  left  on  October  31 , 1 990  to  be  one  of  God's  chorus  celebrities 
and  present  Dasanjali  for  a  change,  leaving  a  large  concourse  of  admiring  and 
passionate  disciples  and  well-meaning  rasikas  in  India  and  abroad. 


11  Fled  is  that  music;  do  I  wake  or  sleep  ?  "  -  (John  Keats). 

The  cup  of  sorrow  probably  was  not  yet  full  !  Tragedy  struck  in  the  most 
heinous  and  lethal  fashion  killing  Maharajapurarn  Santhanam,  the  reigning 
supremo  among  Carnatic  vocalists  in  a  road  accident  on  June  24,  1992.  The 
first  Sangita  Kalanidhi  to  be  killed  so,  and  the  second  vocalist  after  John  Higgins, 
Santhanam  held  undisputed  sway  and  leadership  presenting  enchanting 
lakshya-lakshana  music  to  the  delight  of  millions.  Sure  he  would  have  been  at 
the  helm  for  the  remaining  part  of  this  century  and  perhaps  the  first  decade  of 
the  next  The  supreme  artiste  demonstrated  that  Classical  Carnatic  music  did 
attract  gate-crashing  crowds  and,  more  particularly,  the  youth. 

11  He  is  gone,  who  seem'd  so  great  —  Gone; 
but  nothing  can  bereave  him  of  the  fame  he  made  his  own. " 

Veena  colossus,  S.  Balachander  was  the  tallest  of  instrumentalists  and  he 
too  passed  away  suddenly.  Many  others  have  left  too  leaving  a  void  which  time 
and  nature  alone  should  heal.  The  loss  of  all  these  veterans  is  too  much  to  Art. 

'  They  wear  a  truer  crown 
Than  any  wreath  that  man  can  weave  them. 
And  in  the  vast  bosom  of  Bharath  leave  them. 
God  had  accepted  these  eminent  Nadopasakas 
To  share  the  stage  raised  there  for  Mahanubhavas.  ' 

( After  Lord  Tennyson ) 

Now,  I  DEDICATE  this  labour  of  love  'Another  Garland  '  to  propagate  the 
fragrant  lives  and  achievements  of  Carnatic  composers  and  musicians,  to  carve 
for  myself  a  niche  in  the  hearts  of  the  Wise  and  the  Learned  and  in  pursuit  of 
my  own  fulfilment'. 

MADRAS.  —  (With  respects  to  Sarngadeva, 

April  13,1992.  author  of  Sangita  Hatnakara.) 


11  No  man  but  a  blockhead  ever  wrote  except  for  money."  —  Samuel  Johnson. 

I  am  what  I  am  ! 

'  It  is  certainly  unwise  to  pay  too  much  attention  to  incidents  which  the  credulous  relate  with  eager 
satisfaction  and  the  more  scrupuluous  or  witty  enquirer  considers  only  as  topics  of  ridicule/ 

—  Samuel  Johnson. 



Prof.  K.R.  Srinivasa  Ayyangar  wrote: 

1  Indian  Culture  over  the  last  ten  thousand  years  has  tried  to  preserve  an  impressive 
continuity  of  its  own,  whether  it  be  the  bullock-cart,  the  Gayafr/or  the  spirit  of  the  Yagna ! ' 

With  due  respect  to  the  learned  Professor,  Carnatsc  Music  can  be  added  to 
it,  since  it  is  but  the  continuation  of  Indian  Music  as  it  was  prior  to  the  advent  of 
Hindustani  Music.  Composers,  musicians  -  vocalists  and  instrumentalists  - 
musicologists,  etc.,  come  and  go  in  a  never-ending  chain.  The  votaries  have 
been  increasing  fast  in  numbers.  Fortune,  recognition  and  publicity  crown  the 
lives  of  some  but  many  a  musical  genius  is  born  to  blush  unseen  and  waste  his 
fragrance  in  the  desert  air  of  neglect,  lack  of  opportunity  and  perhaps  Destiny. 
Time,  with  a  complexity  of  pulls  and  pressures  on  it,  takes  notice  of  a  few. 
Fortune  and  recognition  confer  their  benign  smile  with  spartan  frugality  on  fewer 
still.  Even  if  some  are  recognised,  how  many  of  them  are  remembered?  Gems 
of  men  with  noble  and  immortal  contributions  have  faded  into  the  realms 
of  anonymity  with  the  passage  of  time.  Yehudi  Menuhin  said, 

1  All  artistes  are  some  gigantic  Tennysonian  band  of  light  brigadiers 
for  ever  doing  and  dying  without  questioning  their  fate,' 

Institutions  and  lovers  of  the  Art  have,  therefore,  a  duty  to  record  alike- 

1  the  short  and  simple  annals'  of  the  less  fortunate  artistes  and 
'  the  boast  of  heraldry  and  the  pomp  of  power'  of  the  fortunate  few. 

There  are  books  on  the  theory  of  music.  There  are  biographies  of  some 
individual  composers  and  musicians.  There  are  a  few  collections  of  more  than 
one  or  two  biographies.  Revered  Subbarama  Dikshitar  did  bring  out  brief  facts 
of  seventy-seven  lives  in  1904.  Abraham  Pandithar  in  1917  and  later 
Prof.  P.  Sambamurti  recorded  some  facts  likewise.  The  venerable 
Dr.  U.Ve.  Swaminatha  Ayyar  thought  of  bringing  out  a  collection  on  the  lives  of 
eminent  musicians  but  his  noble  life  was  a  fight  against  the  clock  and  the 
calendar.  His  weighty  contribution  attracted  the  notice  of  the  Lord  and  he  was 
withdrawn  to  be  by  His  side  before  he  could  take  up  the  work.  The  'Who's  Who' 
of  musicians  has  but  a  limited  coverage,  scope  and  content.*  Thus  there  is  no 
compilation  of  biographies  in  english  giving  details  of  past  and  present 
composers,  musicians  and  musicologists  for  universal  reference  and  circulation. 
Hymnodists  were  hitherto  a  neglected  tribe,  Hence  I  took  up  the  arduous  task 
of  collecting  and  collating  the  biographies  of  all  from  libraries,  newspapers, 

*  Note  :  Dr.  V.S.  Sampathkumaracharya  has  recorded  some  lives  in  his  Kannada  book  Karnataka 
Paribhashika  Sabda  Kosa. 


magazines  and  books  and  by  contacting  artistes  in  person  and  by  post.  I 
visited  places  like  Tiruvarur,  Anandatandavapuram,  Marudanallur, 
Govindapuram,  Varanasi,  Kanchipuram  and  Tirupati  but  could  not  extend  my 
visits  further  owing  to  constraints  of  finance.  My  work,  analogous  to  that  of  a 
pearl-diver  who  gathers  the  oysters  and  not  make  them,  has  gone  on  like  that 
of  a  dedicated  ant  prior  to  the  onset  of  the  monsoon.  Mine  has  not  been  the 
role  of  a  critic.  I  have  also  not  the  ear  to  listen  to  or  the  inclination  to  gather 
demeaning  details.  ('Human  stories  are  always  welcome  to  the  prurient 
palate/)*  Focus  thus  is  on  the  man,  the  God's  creation  and  not  on  the 
creations  of  man  though  they  figure  conspicuously.  Parentage  and  training, 
trials  and  tribulations,  achievements  and  attainments,  honours  and  titles, 
anecdotes  and  landmarks  have  been  brought  in  as  fully  as  is  possible  with 
sincerity  backed  by  the  opinions  and  views  of  renowned  authorities  and 
scholars  to  ensure  conceptual  fidelity. 

I  may  pardonably  mention  that  this  work  enjoys  the  merit  and  distinction  of 
being  — 

L          the  first  of  its  kind  in  english  with  as  many  as  seven  hundred  biographies-big 

and  small,  past  and  present; (Someone  had  said  that  the  trouble  with  history 

"   is  that  none  lives  beyond  a  page  or  two.  Here  are  scores  of  artistes  covering 

many  more  pages  in  spite  of  the  constraints  of  space,  number  and  finance.) 

ii.  the  first  of  its  kind  to  bring  within  its  scope  the  hymnodists  (Oduvars)  who 
have  sustained  the  spiritual  atmosphere  through  music  in  the  far-flung 
temples  as  part  of  their  daily  duties:  and 

iii.  the  first  of  its  kind  to  take  Carnatic  Music  as  a  whole  without  geographical  or 
linguistic  barriers,  restraints  and  limitations. 

In  my  view  this  work  comes  out  at  the  most  apposite  time  when  Classical 
Carnatic  music  is  set  to  conquer  untilled  soils  in  other  continents  where  advance 
guards  have  already  established  contacts,  connections  and  outposts.  Hinduism 
had  done  it;  Buddhism  has  done  it  later  spectacularly;  Gandhian  philosophy  had 
done  it  recently  and  attracted  intelligentsia  all  over  the  world.  Now  classical 
Carnatic  music  is  set  to  succeed. 

SOUTH  INDIA  has  the  unique  distinction  of  having  set  its  heart  and  soul  on 
Art  and  Culture.  Is  there  any  parallel  to  the  hundreds  of  temples,  sculptures  and 
other  cultural  landmarks  and  activities  seen  in  the  entire  stretch  of  Bharath  south 

r  Note  ;  Samuel  Johnson  is  stated  to  have  'maintained  that  if  a  man  is  to  write  a  panegyric,  he  may 
keep  vices  out  of  sight ;  but  if  he  professes  to  write  a  Life,  he  must  represent  it  really  as  it  Was, 
(stating  that)  it  would  produce  an  instructive  caution  to  avoid  drinking  when  it  was  seen  that 
even  the  learning  and  genius  of  P.  could  be  debased  by  it'.  But  later,  according  to  Boswell, 
he  had  modified  his  stand  on  the  question  whether  a  man's  vices  should  be  mentioned  ;  for 
instance  ,  whether  it  should  be  mentioned  that  A.  and  P.  drank  too  freely  ;  'for  people  will 
probably  more  easily  indulge  in  drinking  from  knowing  this  ;  so  that  more  ill  may  be  done  by 
the  example  than  good  by  telling  the  whole  truth1.  I  have  followed  the  second  stand  though 
the  first  has  its  merits  and  attractions. 


of  the  river  Godavari  ?  Likewise,  it  has  nurtured  Carnatic  music  in  the  cradle  of 
devotion  with  the  fond  care  of  a  nurse,  the  loving  passion  of  a  mother,  the 
far-sighted  vision  of  a  father  and  the  wisdom  of  a  guru,  The  fertile  soil  of  the  river 
systems,  more  particularly  of  the  Cauvery,  which  led  to  a  lot  of  leisure  to  the 
intellectual  to  follow  his  pursuits,  innate  genius  of  the  people,  robust  cultural 
antiquity,  congenial  atmosphere  for  growth  and  the  legacy  of  vibrant  traditions 
helped  the  flowering  and  perfection  of  the  Art  and  the  Science  of  Carnatic  music. 
Music  was  made  sine  qua  non  for  auspicious  functions  and  festivals  - 
religious,  social,  cultural  and  even  political.  Temples  and  Mutts  were  the 
bastions  and  nerve-centres  for  the  sustenance  of  musicians  and  propagation  of 
music.  Royalty  was  assigned  the  duty  to  provide  patronage  while  cultured 
families  took  patronage  of  musicians  as  status  symbols.  For  instance,  do  the 
cultural  suzerainty  and  the  magnitude  of  patronage  extended  by  the  Rulers  of 
Tanjore  bear  any  comparison  to  the  extent  of  their  geographical  suzerainty  ?  An 
enlightened  society  enabled  musicians  command  the  respect  of  the  ruler  and 
the  ruled. 


'  This  is  the  only  country  (U.K.)  in  the  world  where  musicians  are  not  expected  to  live.  Qf 
course," composers  and  musicians  have  always  starved  and,  as  this  is  a  sentimental 
country,  we  think  the  tradition  should  be  continued. ' 

It  is  common  knowledge  that  the  remark  has  had  its  greatest  relevance  to 
India.  But  Indian  genius  made  a  subtle  distinction  in  the  conferment  of  its 
approbation.  Deliberate  intent  wove  glory  around  the  art  and  the  contributions 
of  the  artiste  and  rarely  on  the  life  of  the  artiste  himself.  The  composer  or  the 
musician  received  rich  dividends  of  praise  and  respect  but  rarely  it  touched  the 
fringe  of  his  economic  well-being.  The  resultant  indigence  among  artistes 
was  the  rule  and  fact  of  life.  Nay,  indigence  was  cultivated,  practised  and 
respected  in  India!  It  was  eulogised  as  promoting  the  well-being  of  Art  and 
through  Art,  the  attainment  of  Truth  and  Excellence  and  thus  the  Ultimate. 

It  was  the  genius  and  marvel  of  the  Indian  that  by  giving  the  spiritual  capsule 
and  cover  to  the  normal  fact  of  life,  he  adroitly  took  away  the  sting  of  economic 
distress.  Abject  poverty  was  the  basic  warranty  of  the  artiste's  absolute  devotion 
and  contribution  to  Art,  Religion  and  Society.  This  basic  ideal  found  its 
wavelengths  in  the  concepts  of  Daridra-Narayana,  Renunciation,  etc.  Rulers  and 
the  public  respected  such  a  status.  The  artiste  took  delight,  not  in  his  economic 
affluence  or  material  prosperity,  but  in  his  artistic  affluence  and  eminence  raised 
on  the  sure  basement  of  poverty.  A  Drona  begged  for  a  cpw  to  provide  milk  for 
his  child  though  his  magnificent  archery  would  have  driven  herds  of  cattle  to  his 
home  like  a  marauding  Tartar  or  a  Mongol.  The  Tallapakkam  stalwarts, 
Purandara  Dasa  and  the  Trinity  could  have  struck  mines  of  gold  but  chose,  by 


deliberate  intent  and  conviction,  to  practise  the  concept  outlined  in  the  song 
'Nidhi  chala  sukhama\  The  Saint  of  Tiruvisanallur,  an  intellectual  seer,  cried  to 
the  Lord  not  to  curse  him  with  wealth  I 

Thus,  in  this  atmosphere,  the  artiste  gave  his  all.  to  Art  -  not  as  a  mercenary 
but  as  a  cultured  devotee.  The  world  understood  his  sacrifice  even  as  it  did  the 
Heroes  of  Thermopylae  and  the  Salt  Satyagraha,  stood  before  him  and  paid 
obeisance  not  only  to  the  Artiste  and  his  Art  but  also  to  his  Indigence!  That 
was  the  underlying  basic  difference  between  India  and  other  countries  though 
Johnson  too  had  said,  If  misery  be  the  effect  of  virtue,  it  ought  to  be  reverenced'. 
Again  it  is  this  philosophy  and  way  of  life  that  Mahatma  Gandhi,  Vinobhaji  and 
Sri  Chandrasekharendra  Saraswati,  the  Senior  Sankaracharya  of  Kanchipuram 
(Paramacharyal)  understood,  assimilated,  practised  and  exalted.  The  Indian 
Genius  prescribed  'Sacrifice  first,  Service  next5.  The  slogan  in  agronomy  is, 
'wffere  rat  is  fat,  man  is  lean'.  In  the  field  of  Art,  it  was  viewed  that  'where  artiste 
is  lean,  art  is  fat  -  with  wealth  and  health',  Art  did  prosper  to  dizzy  heights  in  an 
environment  of  grinding  poverty.  It  was  almost  universal  before  and  continues 
to  be  so  in  respect  of  a  large  number  of  artistes.  Fortune  has  favoured  but  the 
few  brave,  as  the  saying  goes, 

I  have  said  that  people  'paid  obeisance  not  only  to  the  Artiste  and  his  Art  but 
also  to  his  Indigence'.  Dr.  S.  Radhakrishnan's  observations  are  relevant  in  this 

'  How  did  the  people  of  Ajanta  caves  work  ?  They  worked  with  the  spirit  of  dedication; 
they  were  pilgrims  of  the  infinite;  they  were  people  who  had  no  concern  for  life  and  light... 
If  anything  can  be  regarded  as  permanent  in  this  world  those  paintings  will  be.  So  also 
at  Ellora;  so  also  what  you  find  in  Mahabalipuram.  Did  they  all  work  for  money?  Did  they 
work  for  recognition?  ...  They  wrote  because  they  could  not  help  writing;  they  painted 
because  they  could  hot  help  painting;  they  sculptured  because  there  was  no  alternative 
to  that  It  was  a  necessity  imposed  on  them;  it  was  spiritual  necessity.  Here  you  find  a 
tradition;  here  you  have  had  many  great  writers,  you  have  had  many  musicians,  many 
good  dancers,  singers,  etc. 

From  the  time  of  the  ancient  Indus  Valley  civilization  down  to  Gandhi  and 
Ramakrishna,  you  have  one  spirit,  one  kind  of  discipline  which  they  exalted. " 

—  (Search  for  Truth) 

Great  men  of  the  past  believed  in  'Nishkamyakarma1  -  service  without 
expectation  and  ego.  Who  had  built  the  countless  temples,  dug  the  tanks, 
constructed  the  choultries  we  have  inherited,  and  struggle  even  to  maintain 
them?  Vinobhaji  thundered  'who  gave  air  or  the  water?1  The  prima  donna  of 
Varnams,  'Viribonf  continues  to  thrill  but  not  much  is  known  of  its  author.  In  fact, 
even  his  name  is  spelt  differently.  Recently,  Semmangudi  Dr,  R.  Srinivasa  Ayyar 
said  that  the  word  'Semmangudi'  (the  name  of  his  village)  confers  on  him  a 
greater  title  and  honour  than  all  the  doctorates,  etc.  Even  so,  when  Adipayya 


was  known  to  be  the  composer  of  the  jewel  'Viriboni\  what  other  facts  were 
needed,  people  had  thought.  Values  are  changing,  The  Nation  has  a  sacred  duty 
to  remember  them  all,  recount  their  services  and  'relate  their  artistic  tales'. 
Conditions  have  improved  a  lot  but  still  hundreds  languish  The  musical  tradition 
that  its  aim  is  not  mere  entertainment,  but  a  way  of  enlightenment  and  of 
achieving  Godhood  through  praise  of  the  Lord  in  His  language  still  lingers. 

Now  about  the  scheme  of  this  work.  Adoption  of  chronological  order  has  been 
found  to  be  difficult  while  alphabetical  arrangement  takes  Purandara  Dasa,  the 
Trinity,  etc.,  to  the  back  pages  as  if  in  vindication  of  their  ideals  !  There  are 
discrepancies  in  the  dates  and  years  of  birth  or  death  or  lack  of  information  of 
many  due  to  adoption  of  local  almanacs  and  other  causes.  (Beethoven  is 
credited  with  maintaining  against  all  evidence  that  he  was  born  two  years  later.) 
The  most  delicate  part  of  lexicographical  pursuits  is  to  determine  who  is  alive 
and  who  has  crossed  the  bar',  said  N.  Slonimsky.  Recording  of  deaths  is  avoided 
where  it  could  not  be  verified. 

An  incident  recorded  by  Leslie  Ayre  may  be  mentioned  here: 

11  Mascagni  was  staying  at  Hotel  'M'  and  outside  an  organ  grinder  used  to  play  the 
intermezzo  from  the  opera.  But  he  always  played  it  too  fast.  As  he  could  stand  it  no 
longer,  he  told  him  to  play  it  slowly.    Next  day,  Mascagni  saw  the  man  with  the  placard: 


But  because  of  our  heritage,  gurukulavasa  and  scholarships  in  recent  years, 
some  musicians  have  enjoyed  a  galaxy  of  preceptors! 

As  far  as  is  possible,  popular  spelling  names  of  places,  etc.,  like  Ramnad, 
Tanjore,  Ayyar,  etc.,  has  been  followed.  Vina/Veena,  sangeeth/sangit,  etc.,  are 
used  as  per  practice  relevant.  'Disc  recordings'  include  cassettes,  etc., 
Appetizers  and  pabulum  are  incorporated. 

IN  CONCLUSION,  I  wish  to  confess  that  while  taking  up  this  arduous, 
awe-inspiring  but  fascinating  work  of  vast  proportions  and  baffling  variety,  I  was 
conscious  of  the  fact  that  I  was  treading  on  hallowed  grounds.  Only  the  fact  that 
such  a  tribute  deservedly  due  to  the  musical  fraternity  all  along  has  not  been 
made  and  the  repeated  words  of  cheer  impelled  me  to  take  up  this  task 
resolutely.  The  'Garland'  is  sure  to  be  very  informative  to  musicians, 
music-lovers,  students  and  researchers  and  be  a  welcome  reference  book  on 
Carnatic  music  at  schools,  colleges,  universities  and  public  libraries.  This  is  a 
reference  book  which  deserves  to  adorn  all  libraries  in  India  and  abroad.  This 
pioneering  thesaurus,  The  'Garland' is  unique  in  numbers,  quality  and  range  of 



In  a  work  such  as  this  Garland  series,  sources  are  scattered,  multitudinous  and 
overlapping  not  to  speak  of  contradictions.  In  this  pearl-fishing,  the  net  was  cast  wide 
and  deep  to  collect  the  valuable  oysters  through  requests  in  news-papers,  individual 
letters  and  by  personal  contacts.  Quite  much  of  valuable  information  was  collected  from 
books  and  journals. 

I  offer  my  humble  obeisance  to  H.H.  the  Paramacharyal  Sri  Chandrasekharendra 
Saraswati  Swamigal,  to  H.H,  the  Sankaracharya  of  Kanchi  Kamakoti  Mutt  Sri  Jayendra 
Saraswati  Swamigal  and  to  H.H.  Sri  Vijayendra  Saraswati  Swamigal  of  Kanchipuram.  A 
fresh  Srimukham  of  H.H.  Sri  Sankaracharya  adorns  this  volume. 

I  owe  a  debt  of  gratitude  to  — 

a.  the  vast  galaxy  of  composers,  vocalists,  instrumentalists,  musicologists  and 
hymnodists,  who  have  held  aloft  the  sacred  banner  of  Classical  Carnatic 
music   through   centuries   facing   undauntedly  the   coercive,    repressive 
measures  of  invading  unmusical  hordes,  chill  penury  and  vicissitudes,  like 
Patience  sitting  in  monument  smiling  at  grief,  in  their  relentless  mission  to 
sustain  the  most  ancient  of  musical  systems  still  extant  today; 

b.  the  numerous  music-lovers  and  musicians  and  magazines  like  Shanmukha 
and  Sangeetham  (USA)    who  gave  a  word  of  cheer  and  encouragement 
whispering,  'Several  talked  about  such  a  work,  but  only  you  have  done 
if   in  tune  with  what  Barnard  M.  Baruch  said,    "Millions  said  that  the 
apple  fell;  but  Newton  was  the  one  to  ask  why';  and 

c.  the  numerous  authors,  institutions,  publishers  and  artistes  who  are  the 

I  record  my  deep  debt  of  gratitude  to  — 

i,  'Srutfand  'Shanmukha',  magazines  dedicated  to  the  promotion  of  excellence 
and  preservation  of  valued  traditions  in  music  and  dance  presenting  valuable 
information  on  the  lives  of  artistes; 

The  'Hindu',  'Indian  Express',  and  other  newspapers  and  journals;  and 
.  Reputed  institutions  like  the  Music  Academy,  Kalakshetra  and  Sampradaya; 
My  thanks  are  specially  due  to  — 

a.  Sri  M.   Gopalakrishnan,  Chairman  and   Managing  Director,   Indian   Bank  for 
providing  a  lucid  foreword  ; 

b.  The  Indian  Bank,  Madras  for  graciously  co-sponsoring  this  publication  ; 

c.  Sarvasri  T.V.  Srinivasan,  I.A.S.  (Retd.)  a  long-time  colleague  of  mine  and  a 
perpetual  source  of  inspiration  and   H.K.   Narasimhaswami,   Superintending 
Epigraphist  (Rtd.)  Archaeological  Survey  of  India ; 

d.  Sri  S.  Rajam,  a  prince  of  culture,  for  his  drawings  and  pictures  in  this  book  ; 

e.  Brigadier  B.  Ramamurthi  for  his  highly  enlightening  article  ( in  Chapter  X-B)  ; 

f.  Sri.  K.  S.  Venkatraman  of  M/s..  Chengacherial  Printers  &  Publishers,  Madras-29. 

g.  My  thanks  are  due  to  TIrumalai  *  Tirupati  Devasthanams  for  the  financial  aid 
granted  for  furthering  the  project  and  printing  this  book. 


This  pioneering  work 


(Biographical  Dictionary  of 

Carnatic  Composers  and  Musicians*  Book  II) 



my  loving  mother,  Lakshmi  alias  Chellammal 
my  saintly  father,  Naganatha  Sastrigal, 

my  Gurus 

Sri  Papanasam  Sivan 

Sri  Subbarama  Bhagavatar 

Sri.  P.R.  Sundar  Rajan 


rny  patron  Deities 

Sri  ParvathavardhinF-Sameta 
Sri  Ramanathaswami  of  Rameswaram, 

Sri  PiJrna  Pushkalambika  sameta 
Sri  Hari-Hara-Puthraswami,  Mandhai  and 

Sri  Alarmelumangal  sameta 
Sri  Venkateswaraswami,  Tirupati. 

*     *     * 



i.        The  Sankaracharyas  of  Kanchi-Kamakoti  Math,.  Kanchipuram. 

H.         The  Heart  of  Carnatic  Music  -  The  course  of  the  river 
Cauvery  indicating  select  musical  nurseries  and  cradles. 

ifi.        The  fragrant  quartette  - 

Sri  Tyagaraja,  Fragrant  Gold. 
Sri  Muthuswami  Dikshitar,  Architect  of  Ragaform. 
Sri  Syama  Sastri,  the  Talaprastara  maestro. 
Sri  Gopalakrishna  Bharati,  Father  of 

Tamil  Music  Renaissance. 

iv   a.   Jagatguru  Sri  Jayendra  Saraswati  Swamigal  releasing 

'A  Garland ',  the  first  copy  being  received  by  Sri  Haridos  Giri 
Swamigal  on  June  19,  1990  at  Kanchipuram.  Sri  Vijayendra 
Sarawati  Swamigal  is  all  smiles. 

b.   The  author  is  speaking  at  the  function  releasing  A  Garland. 

v.         Krishna  Bhajana  Mandiram- Anniversary  Celebrations-  Photo 
showing  a  galaxy  of  musicians  and  Mandhai  Krishna  Ayyar. 

vi,         Commemorative  Stamps  issued  by  the  Government  of  India  . 

vii.         Musical  Contest  on  yazh  as  described  in  Jeevaga  Chintamani 
—  Panels  from  the  sculpture  of  Chola  period  in  the  temple  of 
Ponsai,  Tanjore  District. 

viii.         Madras  Brothers  (Vocalist  S.  Rajam  and 

Dr.  Veena    S.  Balachander). 

be.         Ravi  Kiran,  the  child  prodigy  giving  a   concert  at  the  Music 
Academy  at  the  age  of  2-3.    Unmatched    achievement ! 

x.         K.B.  Sundarambal,  the  vibrant  musician  with  matinee  idols 
Dr.M.G.  Ramachandran,  former  Chief  Minister  and 
Dr.  Selvi  Jayalalitha,  present  Chief  Minister  of  Tamil  Nadu. 

xi.        "Let  Us  Skip  Tiruvaiyaru"  -  The  Celestials  arrive  at  Tiruvaiyaru. 

xil.  A  Garland  of  Maestros  :  The  design  shows  from  top  left  to  top  right : 
Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar,  Patnam  Subramania  Ayyar,  Poochi 
Srinivasa  Ayyangar,  Umayalpuram  Narayana  Ayyar  (ghatam), 
Tanjore  Krishna  Bhagavatar  (harikatha),  Coimbatore  Raghava 
Ayyar,  Lalgudi  Radhakrishna  Ayyar  (Violinist),  Tanjore 
Narayanaswami  Appa  (mridangam),  Patnam  Subramania  Ayyar 
and  Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  -a\(  celebrities. 

xiii.         Melakarta  Chart  with  the  Katapayadi  Formula.  -  Back  outer 



Table  of 



FOREWORD  ...                              3 

VOICE  OF  DIVINITY  ...                              4 

PREFACE  ...                               5 

PREFACE  to  'A  GARLAND1  (  First  Book )  reproduced.  1 1 


DEDICATION  ...  17 





I       Tamil  Isai  ...  23 

II       Raga- An  Intellectual  Property?  ...  30 

III  Women  in  Melody  ...  33 

IV  Trends  and  Trends  ...  39 

V  Jealousy  -  The  Arch  Destroyer  ...  44 
VI       Nadopasana  is  Transcendental  Bliss  ...  49 

VII       Contests  and  Challenges  -  II  ...  52 

Vtll       Purandara  Dasa  Challenged           .  ...  62 

IX  Classical  Extravaganza  ...  68 

X  A:       Climactic  Dazzle  ...  71 

B;       Man's  Admiration  for  the  Surpreme 

-  By  Prof.  (Dr.)  B.  Ramamurthi.  ...  72 

XI       Cradles  of  Music  -  II  ...  74 

XII      Soul  of  Eminence  is  Immortal.  ...  77 

XIII       LetusskipTiruvaiyaru-AFarce.  ...  78 




Biographical  Sketches  of  Carnatic  Composers,  ..  85 

Musicologists,  etc. 

(Combined  Alphabetical  Indices  for  Book  I  and  Book  II  are  given  in  Part  IV.) 


A.  Great  Events,  Memorable  Performances  and  Unique  Records.       346 

B.  Deeds,  Thoughts  and  Sayings  ...  368 

C.  Aphorisms  and  Epigrams  ...  383 

D.  Interesting  Notes  and  Incidents  ...  395 

E.  Musicians  and  Music  ,.,  430 

F.  Addenda  and  Corrigenda  to  A  Garland   (Book  I)              ...  447 


f  A.  Glossary  ...  474 

B.  Bibliography  ...  433 

C.  Chronological  Table  of  Composers,  Musicians,  Etc., 

(Book  I  and  Book  II  consolidated.)  ...  489 

D.  Index  to  Individual  Biographies  in  Part  II 

(Book  I  and  Book  II  Consolidated)  ...  505 

'No,  madam;  of  all  noises  music  is  the  least  disagreeable/ 



The  Bard  of  Tiruvaiyaru  hails  it  as  Rajarajeswari.  The  people  of  the  delta 
worship  it  as  their  honoured  mother  or  beloved  daughter.  From  pre-historic  times 
it  has  generated  a  vibrant  civilisation  and  sustained  a  glorious  culture  that  was 
soulful  and  a  soul  that  was  cultured.  It  has  nurtured  and  cradled  art,  architecture, 
music,  dance  and  everyone  of  the  sixty-four  arts  in  a  measure  that  is  the  envy 
of  the  combined  glory  of  Greece,  Rome  and  Egypt.  It  is  the  River  Cauvery,  the 
Pride  of  the  South.  The  map  shows  the  river  from  Mettur  Dam  to  its  end  at 
Poompuhar  and  the  delta.  The  numbers  on  the  map  indicate  the  approximate 
situation  of  the  musical  centres  shown  against  each  below: 

1 .  Tirupoonturuti,  Tiruvaiyaru 

2.  Budalur 

3.  Vaiyacheri,  Titte,  Soolamangalam,  Ayyampettai 

4.  Mangudi,  Melattur,  Uthukadu 

5.  Valangaiman,  Marudhanallur,  Visalur 

6.  Kabistalam,  Umayalpuram,  Swamimalai 

7.  Tirucherai,  Kodavasal,  Semmangudi,  Injikudi,  Paruthikudi 

8.  Konerirajapuram,  Tiruvizhimalalai,  Tiruppamburam,  Achuthamangalam 

9.  Maruthuvakudi,  Tiruvidaimarudur,  Tirubhuvanam,  Govindapuram, 

Kuttalarn,  Tiruvaduthurai 

10.  Tirupanandal,  Tirukodikaval,  Tiruvisanallur,  Pandanallur,  Marathurai 

11.  Komal,  Gudalur,  Mandhai,  Kothavasal,  Keeranur 

12.  Vaideeswarankoil,  Anandatandavapuram,  Tiruvenkadu,  Sembanarkoil 

13.  Nachiarkoil 

14.  Tirumarugal,  Tiruchengattangudi,  Nagore 

15.  Udayarpalayam,  T.  Pazhuvur 

•   A    f\     fc   I/-X-T-   -1-/-N     /"\/-V 


PART  1 

The    KRITI   and   the    CURE 

Jagadguru  Sri  Chandrasekhara  Bharati  visited  Vidyaranyapura  Agrahara  on  the 
western  banks  of  river  Tunga  and  entered  the  temple  of  Sri  Sadasiva.  Subramanya  Sastri 
was  living  in  a  house  within  the  temple  compound  and  was  performing  puja.  He  was  a 
violin  master  as  well.  He  was  for  a  long  time  suffering  from  stomach  pain.  His  Holiness 
looked  at  him  compassionately  and  advised  him  to  play  Amba  Natho  Vinnappamu,  a  kriti 
of  Pallavi  Gopala  Iyer,  daily  at  Brahma  Muhurta  for  a  cure.  Subramanya  Sastri  faithfully 
followed  the  command  of  the  Jagadguru  and  shortly  got  completely  cured. 

—  Tattvatoka  XV  -  3 




THE  WORD  'Karnafa/cam'  refers  not  only  to  some  undefined  parts  of 
Peninsular  India  but  also  to  what  is  traditional  and  ancient.  'Carnatic'  is 
presumably  a  derivative  of  it.  Carnatic  Music  is  taken  as  the  Indian  music  legated 
to  posterity  by  ancients  like  Bharata,  Sarngadeva,  ef  a/,  as  invasions  and 
external  influences  happened  to  mould  in  North  India  a  modified  style  now 
broadly  classified  as  Hindustani  music.  Carnatic  and  Hindustani  styles  do  retain 
the  common  heritage  of  being  raga-based.  In  the  tamil  areas  of  the  South,  'Pann' 
or  Tamil  Isai  has  had  a  hoary  antiquity.  The  Qilappadhikaram,  one  of  the 
ambrosial  tamii  epics  (2nd  -  3rd  century  A.D),  revolves  around  music  and  dance. 
Madhavi,  the  heroine  and  Kovalan,  the  hero  excel  each  other  in  music.  Dance 
and  music  unite  them  as  none  else  had  been  since  their  union  isolates  Kannagi, 
the  just-wedded  wife  from  her  spouse  for  ever  -  yes,  for  ever.  Though  they  come 
together  at  the  end,  it  is  only  for  tragic  fate  to  intervene  and  cut  asunder  eternally 
the  husband  from  the  wife.  If  Music  and  Dance  had  united  Madhavi  and  Kovalan, 
it  is  the  same  twin  that  leads  to  their  parting  of  ways  ending  the  spell  of  palmy 
days.  Both  are  specialists  in  playing  on  the  instrument  'yazh'  which  was  then 
pre-eminently  popular.  'Jeevaga  Chintamani '  of  Tirutakka  Devar  (9th  century) 
portrays  heroine  Gandarvadattai  as  declaring  that  she  would  marry  only  the  man 
who  scores  over  her  in  playing  on  yazh!  The  passion  -the  domineering  love  of 
music  is  thus  highlighted.  Jeevagan  accepts,  the  challenge.  His  attempts  to  get 
at  a  yazh  which  enjoys  immaculacy  reveal  his  immense  knowledge  of 
musicology  and  expertise  in  the  art  of  manufacture  of  the  instrument  itself.  He 
discards  many  instruments  -  each  for  specific  defects  like  the  wood  being  soft, 
decayed,  damaged  (wounded)  or  struck  earlier  by  thunderbolt;  and  finally 
selects  one.  He  is  not  satisfied  with  it  either!  He  has  to  remove  streaks  of 
unwanted  nerves.  That  reveals  the  absolute  mastery  of  the  art  and  science  by 
Tirutakka  Devar  and  the  artistes  of  his  period  too  —  a  thousand  years  back. 

Sekkizhar  was  a  saintly  poet  to  whom  language  and  religion  are  eternally 
indebted.  Aanaaya  Nayanar  is  ene  of  the  Saivite  Apostles  described  by  him  in 
his  'Per/a  Puranam'  written  during  1139-1140  A.D.  If  Gandarvadattai  and 
Jeevagan  excelled  in. yazh,  Nayanar's  forte  was  in  flute  which  has  exercised  a 
magic  spell  in  India  unparalleled  in  the  history  of  musical  instruments,  Nayanar 
was  a  cow-boy  unlettered  and  innocent.  His  flute-play  was  so  divinely  melodic 
that  man,  animal  and  the  woods  lost  their  animation  and,  true  to  the  Advaita 
philosophy,  lost  themselves  in  the  melody  that  emanated  from  the  bamboo  pipe 
holes  -  Vide  page  274,  A  Garland.  Tamil  music  was  not  a  mere  product  of  the 
fertile  imagination  of  poets.  As  scripts  are  apt  to  be  lost,  Pallava  Mahendra 
Varman  (590  -  630  A.D)  did  not  take  chances.  His  Kudumiamalai  rock 
inscriptions  near  Pudukottai  are  in  elegant  pallava  grantha  characters  with  one 


line  in  tamii,  The  queen  of  Kulottunga  Chola  (12th  century)  did  not  stop  with 
mastering  music  but  proudly  assumed  the  name  of  'Ezhisai  Vallabhf  -  Mistress 
of  the  Seven  Notes  !  Music  pervaded  the  Palace,  the  habitations,  the  grazing 
fields  and  the  rock.  It  was  the  staple  of  Tamilian  life  indeed !  This  is  an  undisputed 
and  undeniable  fact. 

Dr.  Mu.  Arunachalam,  who  taught  Saiva  Siddhantaatihe  Benares  University, 
has  garnered  clinching  evidence  to  re-establish  that  music  in  tamil  areas,- then 
called  Pann,  was  in  a  very  advanced  state  of  perfection  as  an  art  and  a  science. 
He  opines  that  it  is  contrary  to  truth  to  contrast  Tamil  Isai  -  Pann  as  distinct  from 
Carnatic  music,  that  music  has  always  played  a  dominant  role  in  tamilian  culture, 
and  that  Bharata,  author  of  the  most  ancient  treatise  Natya  Sastra,  was  himself 
a  tamilian,  who  migrated  to  the  North  to  spread  tamil  music  and  brought  out  the 
Sanskrit  version  Natya  Sastra  to  further  his  objectives!  In  his  works 
Dr,  Arunachalam  stakes  the  claim  that  the  several  works  in  Sanskrit  on  music 
owe  their  birth  and  inspiration  only  to  tamil  music  and  concludes 

i.        that  there  was  then  no  scientific  music  literature  in  the  whole  of  India 
except  in  Tamil  Nadu, 

ii.       that  all  the  music  which  then  existed  was  only  tamil  music;  and 
iii.      that  there  was  no  other  music. 

Many  scholars  may  think  that  this  is  non-sequitur,  and  not  a  mere  faux  pas  but 
reductio  ad  absurdum.  But  exaggeration  is  the  essence  of  propagation  of  truth 
and  its  publicity! 

Dr.  N,  Mahalingam  clarifies  how  luxuriant  tamil  music  metamorphosed  into 
Carnatic  music.  Someswara  Bhooloka  Malla  Varman  (1116-1127  A.D)  of  the 
Western  Chalukyas  who  authored  the  prominent  thesaurus  'Manasa  Ullasa' 
called  the  music  of  the  South  -  of  the  tamils  included  -  as  'Karnataka 
Sangeetham1  and  the  term  has  turned  immortal.  'Karnataka'  is  made  mention 
of  by  Kallinadha  and  Govinda  Dikshitar. 

Confining  this  discussion  to  the  issue  how  pann  music  with  such  a  glorious 
past  came  to  suffer  total  eclipse  that  even  its  name  came  to  be  lost  in  obscurity 
and  disuse,  we  have  to  turn  to  another  Tamil  Savant,  T  Lakshmana  Pillai  of 
Trivandrum,  a  composer  of  eminence  in  tamil,  scholar  and  musicologist.  What 
he  says  is,  in  fact,  applicable  to  all  languages  and  musical  systems.  He  says: 

1  It  is  a  patent  fact  that,  although  we  have  ever  so  many  compositions  in  tamil  set  to  music,  yet 
musical  compositions  as  such,  i.e.,  the  compositions  of  lyrics  calculated  to  embody  the  highest 
rhythmic  expression  of  pure  beauty  in  sound,  has  been  a  rarity  in  tamil.  This  has  been  an 
achievement  by  masters  of  Carnatic  music  in  the  telugu  language.  Not  that  tamil,  which  is  so  rich, 
sweet,  tender  and  soul-stirring,  has  been  found  to  be  inappropriate.  Far  from  it.  The  experiment 
has  simply  never  been  tried.'  _  "Songs"  -  September  1 933 


Pillai's  enormous  passion  and  love  of  undoubted  purity  for  tamil  do  not  cloud 
his  analysis  and  he  strikes  at  the  truth  behind  the  apparent  tragedy  of  tamil 
yielding  its  primacy  to  telugu  in  the  field  of  musical  compositions  during  the  last 
three  centuries,  His  conclusion  is  accurate  and  correct.  It  is  not  denied  that 
Muthu  Thandavar  (16th  century),  Marimutha  Pillai  and  Arunachala  Kavirayar 
(18th  century)  did  bring  out  classical  songs  in  tamil  but  they  had  a  limited  range 
and  style.  And  demand  outstripped  the  supply.  To  make  this  fundamental 
difference  more  clear,  mention  may  be  made  of  the  distinction  between  Sahitya 
Kavitvam  where  Sahitya  (text)  claims  primary  attention  as  in  the  case  of  the 
songs  of  Annamacharya  and  Sangita  Kavitvam  where  music  assumes 
dominance.  It  is  the  difference  between  kriti  and  kirtana.  R.A.  Jayantha  refers 
to  this  in  'Composers'  thus: 

1  That  Annamacharya  knew  all  the  musical  modes  and  forms  of  his  times  is  obvious  from 
his  works.  But  he  conceived  his  pada,  as  did  the  earlier  devotional  singers,  primarily  as 
devotional  poetry.  Music  was  mainly  an  aid  to  render  them  effectively. 

The  kritis  of  Tyagaraja  and  others,  on  the  contrary,  are  conceived  generally  as  musical 
compositions;  and  their  poetry,  however  impressive,  is  mainly  a  verbal  scaffold  for 
raising  a  musical  structure.  Musical  thought,  rather  than  poetic  thought,  seems  to 
determine  their  structure  pattern.  ' 

The  same  point  is  stressed  by  R.  Rangaramanuja  Ayyangar  when  he  says: 

'  As  a  vehicle  for  musical  expression,  tamil  is  not  inferior  to  telugu,  Sanskrit,  kannada  or 
malayalam.  But  most  of  the  tamil  compositions  are  hybrid  products.  The  words  of  a 
tamil  scholar  innocent  of  music  have  been  grafted  on  the  music  of  a  singer  practically 
illiterate. ' 

—  'Musings  of  a  Musician'. 

The  fundamental  point  for  notice  is  that  verses  are  not  songs  and,  even  if 
set  to  tunes,  rarely  could  be  melodic  enjoying  the  graces  of  pure  music  which 
could  stand  the  test  of  time.  Some  non-musicians  like  the  Kadigai  Pulavars, 
Arunachala  Kavirayar,  Periaswami  Thooran  and  Ambhujam  Krishna  wisely 
availed  of  the  services  of  musicians  even  while  composing  and  perhaps  were 
able  to  imbibe  the  melodic  needs  and  graces  required  and  induct  and  inject  them 
in  their  compositions. 

Of  course,  in  the  last  century  and  the  present,  a  galaxy  of  tamil  composers 
appeared  like  Kavi  Kunjara  Bharati,  Gopala  Krishna  Bharati,  Vedanayakam 
Pillai,  Ghanam  Krishnier,  Uthukadu  Venkatasubba  Ayyar,  Ramaswami  Sivan, 
Tanjore  Quartette,  Nilakanta  Sivan,  Annamalai  Reddiar,  Subramania  Bharati 
and  Papanasam  Sivan.  The  impact  made  till  the  middle  of  this  century  was  not, 
however,  impressive  since  the  musical  market  was  already  the  monopoly  of 
telugu  composers,  telugu  songs  and  musicians  fully  oriented  in  them.  Audience 
might  not  have  fully  appreciated  the  sahitya  but  felt  drawn  by  the  lure  of  the 
captivating  tunes  of  masters.  The  Carnatic  Trinity  (1 762-1 847)  who  hailed  from 
Tiruvarur  and  composers  immediately  before  and  after  them  had  presented 


exquisite,  bhava-Iaden,  rasa-oriented,  melody-based  matchless  songs  in  plenty. 
Where  there  was  a  drought  before,  there  came  cyclonic  floods.  The  Cauvery 
and  other  rivers  saw  flood-waters  to  the  brim;  rivulets,  canals  and  channels  all 
flowed  with  the  fragrant  waters  of  such  compositions.  The  reservoir  of  telugu 
songs  did  not  also  get  depleted  but  got  replenished  repeatedly.  There  were 
periods  of  political  vacuity  and  occasional  economic  droughts  but  telugu  songs 
occasionally  spiced  with  Sanskrit  and  tamil  songs  presented  a  picture  of 
affluence,  prosperity  and  satisfaction.  There  was  indeed  a  glut  of  telugu  songs. 
The  preference  to  the  telugu  songs  was  never  on  grounds  of  language  ;  and  to 
state  so,  is  unfair.  The  telugu  compositions  readily  answered  a  felt  need, 
satisfied  the  pangs  of  heart  and  soul  and  met  the  cry^of  artistic  desire.  In 
Thevararn,  there  was  no  scope  for  improvisation.  It  was  more  or  less  equivalent 
of  the  Gregorian  chant -the  Church  music  of  the  West',  writes  Dr.S.Ramanathan, 
an  authority  on  tamil  music.  Surely  few  could  resort  to  verses  and  set  them  to 
tunes  as  they  could  not  answer  the  melodic  demands  of  a  musically-oriented 
community  where  music  is  a  must  for  everything  -  worship,  festival,  function, 
birth  or  death.  It  would  be  the  difference  between  a  Beethoven  and  a  Macaulay 
prose  or  a  Miltonic  poem  being  set  to  tune.  While  the  demand  for  songs 
increased  multifold,  the  market  was  full  of  immortal  tamil  literature  but  few  tamil 
songs.  Folk  songs  and  Thevaram  could  offer  no  melodic  pieces  for  full-scale 
concerts.  Kambar,  Villiputturar,  Ottakoothar  electrified  the  field  of  literature  but 
had  no  time  to  enter  the  field  of  melody.  The  emphasis  of  the  times  was  on 
poetry  and  not  on  lyrics.  Here  is  a  specimen  of  the  alternatives  that  confronted 
Lord  Byron  : 

*  !'ve  half  a  mind  to  tumble  down  to  prose: 
But  verse  Is  more  in  fashion. ' 

T  Lakshmana  Pillai  has  to  be  understood,  accepted  and  conceded.  The 
telugu  songs  were  presented  on  a  platter  for  students  to  learn  quickly  and 
musicians  to  sing  without  ado.  As  the  landholder  travelling  in  his  cart  sees  his 
car  coming,  he  gets  down  and  boards  it.  It  is  not  aversion  to  the  former  but  a 
preference  to  the  latter  vis-a-vis  travel  comfort  and  conditions.  He  comes  back 
and  summons  his  cart  to  go  to  his  field  since  the  car  is  ill-suited  for  it.  It  was  so 
with  musicians  and  music-lovers.  No  partiality;  no  aversion.  How  can  one  have 
aversion  to  a  language  rich  in  its  history  and  literature  and  is  the  mother  tongue  ? 
Fully  cooked  dishes  in  crisp  and  spiced  telugu  came  to  be  available  in  plenty 
and  the  craze  to  compose  in  telugu  was  also  the  phenomenon  of  the  times. 
Acharya  Kripalani  told  Frank  Antony  in  Parliament  that  english  would  be 
spoken  by  Indian  children  even  if  it  is  forgotten  in  England  and  he  even  mimicked 
how  our  children  called  'mummy5.  Tamil  had  invaded  Indonesia  centuries  back. 
Telugu  compositions  came  to  invade  musical  forums  here.  Tamil  compositions 
of  the  few  masters  held  the  field  with  select  musicians  but  could  not  command 
primacy.  It  was  pure  invisible  market  mechanism  with  no  non-musical  overtones. 


colours  as  the  melody-market  expanded.  The  expansion  is  attributable  to  the 
supply  of  the  rich  telugu  fare.  When  the  reservoir  is  full  and  replenishment  is 
good,  outflow  is  naturally  copious. 

Sanskrit  could  be  said  to  be  above  the  common  man's  reach;  but  telugu 
suffered  no  such  inhibition.  The  telugu  of  the  Trinity  and  others  of  the  South  is 
not  the  puritan  language  of  scholars  of  Upper  Andhra  but  of  the  people  in  Tamil 
Nadu  speaking  tamil  or  tamiiised  telugu.  Besides  there  is  a  substantial  telugu  - 
speaking  segment  in  Tamil  Nadu.  When  Eminence  composed  songs  in  telugu, 
other  celebrities  followed  impelled  by  a  desire  to  join  the  rank  of  immortals  and 
not  out  of  any  felt  or  spelt  antagonism  to  tamil.  (What  one  sees  now  in  respect 
of  english  is  similar.  English  medium  schools  enjoy  a  gala  field  and  time.) 
Bhava-based  telugu  songs  full  of  melodic  content  and  scope  for  nuances 
available  in  hundreds  stole  the  show  and  monopolised  concerts  as  musicians 
are  rarely  composers,  choreographers  or  tune-setters.  They  are  retailers  mostly, 
their  tour  de  force  being  melodic  presentation.  Telugu,  termed  the  Italian  of  the 
East,  praised  by  Bharati  himself  as  'Sundara'  (sweet),  enjoying  soft-flow  with 
tenderness  of  tone  monopolised  classical  concerts  in  the  South.  'We  did  sing  in 
tamil  though  there  were  not  many  good  compositions.  Tamil  songs  were  then 
few',  says  Dr.Semmangudi  Srinivasa  Ayyar.  Other  musicians  too  had  availed  of 
tamil  songs,  while  a  few  had  ignored  them,  which  was  an  error  in  approach  and 
judgment.  An  erroneous  belief  identifying  classicism  with  telugu  songs  had  also 
gained  ground  earlier  resulting  in  some  established  artistes  refraining  from 
singing  the  available  tamil  songs.  The  position  from  the  view-point  of  tamil  as  a 
language  was  rather  strange  viewed  against  its  pre-eminence  in  literature  and 

Musicians  not  conversant  with  telugu  committed  mistakes  in  pronunciation 
erroneously  conveying  the  sahitya-bhava  in  varying  degrees  which  came  up  for 
criticism  and  gave  an  edge  to  the  demand  for  tamil  songs.  Subramania  Bharati 

"Several  musicians  do  not  know  that  the  Soul  of  Music  lies  only  in  the  Navarasas.. .  they 
eliminate  the  life  of  music  and  project  only  the  bare  body  -  the  corpse  of  music  !  Most 
of  the  vidwans  do  not  know  the  meaning.  They  murder  or  swallow  letters  and  words.  A 
person  who  does  not  know  the  meaning  cannot  bring  out  the  rasas  (emotions)." 

K.V.  Srinivasa  Ayyangar,  the  senior  among  the  Tiger  Trio  and  a  musicologist 
of  repute,  in  his  'Tyagarajah  Hrudayam'  referred  'to  the  murder  of  sahitya  out  of 
sheer  ignorance  of  the  language'  and  to  the  consequential  absence  of  bhava 
and  rasa.  To  the  knowledgeable,  this  is  unpardonable,  (if  someone  sings  the 
matchless  Freedom  Struggle  song  'Acchamilla?  in  'Sahana\  the  raga  of 
compassion  and  pity,  even  Pandey  of  the  First  War  of  Independence, 
Vanchinathan  of  Ashe  Murder  case  and  Tiruppur  Kumaran  who  all  willingly 
sacrified  their  lives  for  the  country  would  have  been  enfeebled  and  turned 


and  to  understand  what  is  presented,  the  audience  has  to  know  the  Language. 
So  there  was  considerable  vocal  insistence  not  only  for  tamil  songs  but  for  tamil 
songs  alone.  Synchronising  with  this,  the  output  of  telugu  songs  also  diminished 
during  the  present  century  and  there  was  meagre  replenishment  to  the 
repertory.  Songs  of  sublimity  such  as  those  of  Papanasam  Sivan  or  Uthukadu 
Venkatasubba  Ayyar  in  tamil  and  those  of  the  Trinity  in  telugu  or  Sanskrit  are 
not  composed  everyday. 

The  plea  for  tamil  songs  coincided  with  the  Tamil  Resurgence  Movement. 
Rajah  Sir  Annamalai  Chettiar  of  Chettinad  was  the  principal  inspiration  behind 
the  Movement  for  Tamil  Isai.  1929  saw  him  founding  the  Meenakshi  College  of 
Music  at  Chidambaram  and  1932  its  affiliation  to  the  Annamalai  University,  also 
founded  by  him.  The  First  Tamil  Isai  Conference  held  at  Annamalai  Nagar  in 
August  1941  evoked  considerable  response  and  enthusiasm  and  was  held 
amidst  much  fanfare  with  the  University  to  back  it.  The  Conference  resolved  that 
songs  sung  at  concerts  should  be  entirely  in  tamil.  This  stand  drew  a  barrage 
of  criticism  and  came  up  for  an  equally  vehement  support.  Justice 
T.L  Venkatarama  Ayyar  said  that  while  perceptible  changes  had  occurred  in 
recent  decades,  over-enthusiasm  in  the  cause  of  tamil  songs  was  not  correct 
since  most  of  the  available  repertory  in  tamil  lacked  the  aesthetic  and  technical 
perfection  found  in  the  compositions  of  the  Trinity.  He  said: 

1  In  the  field  of  music  pure  and  simple,  the  language  of  the.  piece  is  necessarily  of 
secondary  importance.  Music  has  a  language  all  of  its  own  and  transcended  the 
language  of  the  composition,  The  excellence  of  a  song  could  be  judged  only  by  the 
manipulation  of  the  swaras  themselves  within  the  confines  of  the  raga  and  not  merely 
by  the  words  or  the  language  used, ' 

T.T.  Krishnamachari  opined  that  restricting  a  concert  to  tamil  songs  alone 
would  severely  deter  any  advancement  whatsoever  in  music  and  that  it  would 
be  linguistic  vandalism  to  fit  in  or  dub  words  of  one  language  to  famous 
compositions  in  another  language.  The  pro-changers  found  in  Tiger  K. 
Varadachariar  a  strong  supporter  and  he  clarified  meaningfully: 

'  The  object  of  the  Tamil  Isai  Movement  is  not  to  oust  songs  in  other  languages  but  to 
give  tamil  audiences  the  best  appreciation  of  tamil  music.  This  is  a  movement  towards 
the  enrichment  of  tamil;  but  it  also  involves  the  enrichment  of  music.  ' 

Tiger  was  a  liberal  known  for  his  robust  views.  The  movement  enlisted  the 
support  of  eminent  musicians  and  composers  like  Suddhananda  Bharati, 
Ariyakudi  Ramanuja  Ayyangar,  Musiri  Subramania  Ayyar,  Madurai  Mani  Ayyar, 
Chittoor  Subramania  Pillai,  Papanasam  Sivan  and  K.B.  Sundarambal  to  preside 
over  the  Annual  Tamil  Isai  Conferences.  The  Music  Festivals  simultaneously 
held  feature  songs  in  tami!  alone  and  there  have  been  occasionally  full-scale 
concerts  only  with  the  compositions  of  Uthukadu  Venkatasubba  Ayyar  and  tuned 
verses  from  Kamba  Rarnayanam.  It  is  worth  a  mention  that  several  celebrated 
musicians  like  G.N.  Baiasubramaniam,  Musiri  Subramania  Ayyar  and  Madurai 


ii  Ayyar  had  always  a  passion  for  songs  in  tamil  and  have  delighted  the 
ience  with  sparkling  songs  indicating  that  neither  the  langugage  nor  the 
tic  was  deficient  or  at  fault  and  that  it  was  only  that  the  genius  of  the  tamil 
not  been  directed  to  bring  out  adequate  musical  compositions  in  the 
turies  past. 

Tamil  songs  of  eminent  composers  are  now  available  and  have  taken  their 
tful  place  well  patronised  and  appreciated.  Language  is  no  barrier  now. 
re  is  a  happy  blend,  co  -  existence  and  co  -  parcenary  of  songs  in  tamil  and 
\r  languages.  Numerous  publications  in  tamil  have  helped  this  development. 
Tamil  Isai  Movement  is  to  be  congratulated  for  taking  Pann  research  and  it 
be  hoped  that  the  demand  of  musicians  to  make  the  inimitable  Thevararn 
other  spiritual  hymns  concert-  worthy  would  receive  due  attention  so  that 
e  immortal  treasures  find  wider  exposure  through  concerts.  Of  course,  the 
i  is  tortuous  and  the  result  unknown. 

Unimpeachable  Evidence 

Mention  has  been  made  of  the  tamil  epic  Jeevaga  Chintamani  wherein  the  contest 
een  Gandarvadattai  and  Jeevagan  has  been  mentioned.  Dr.  M.  Rajamanikkanar 
re  for  Historical  Research,  Tiruchirapalli  has  brought  to  light  a  sculpture  in  the 
le  of  Nalthunai  Ishwara  in  Ponsai  village,  Mayiladuthurai  area.  The  panel  is  in  two 
>s.  One  half  portrays  a  male  artiste  seated  with  a  yazh  supported  on  his  right  thigh, 
ght  hand  being  placed  over  the  strings  and  the  left  hand  at  the  tail-end.  The  other 
}f  the  panel  presents  a  beautiful  woman  with  a  yazh  resting  on  her  thigh  with  the 
and  on  the  strings  and  the  right  hand  at  its  tail-end.  The  photo  of  the  sculpture  is 
i  in  this  book.  It  shows  other  figures  -  either  friends  or  accompanists.  Dr. 
kovan,  Director  of  the  Centre,  unequivocally  avers  that  the  panel  represents  the 
\  of  the  contest  between  Gandarvadattai  and  Jeevagan.  His  version  is  fully 
>table.  The  fact  that  the  scene  finds  mention  in  literature  and  a  place  in  sculpture 
that  it  may  be  based  on  some  real  event  of  the  times. 

*     *     * 

eorge  V  frequented  the  opera  La  Boheme.    Thomas  Beecham  asked  : 
*Is  this  opera  your  favourite?' 

Td  be  most  interested  to  know  why/ 
"Because  it's  much  the  shortest ! ' 
(  So,  lesser  the  length,  greater  the  interest !  ) 




Two  stalwarts  of  the  musical  world  visualise  a  comprehensive  project  wprthy 
of  the  ancient  art  to  arrest  the  apparent  deterioration  in  audience-attendance  at 
concerts  and  to  invigorate  the  presentation  of  classical  music  at  rural  centres 
which  now  stand  starved  of  good  music  consequent  on  the  accelerated  migration 
of  musicians  to  Madras  and  the  decelerated  conduct  of  temple  festivals  and 

On  an  auspicious  day,  the  two  veterans  enter  the  chambers  of  the  popular 
Chairman  and  Managing  Director  of  a  Lead  Bank.  The  Chairman,  a  connoisseur 
of  music,  is  delighted  to  see  the  Bhishma  and  the  Yuthishtira  of  Carnatic  music 
together  and  receives  them  with  his  accustomed  warmth.  The  two  musical 
colossuses  with  round  faces  brimming  with  self  -  assurance  explain  in  brief  their 
project  and  indicate  how  it  depends  on  the  outlay  of  considerable  funds,  The 
broad  smile  that  pervaded  the  rectangular  face'of  the  Bank  Chief  slowly  yields 
to  visible  strains  of  serious  thinking  -  the  anxiety  to  support  a  good  project 
seeking  to  dominate  and  prevail  over  banking  norms  and  vice  versa. 

Security?  The  Senior  undertakes  to  pledge  his  right  to  sing  in  raga 
Kharaharapriya  and  the  Junior  his  right  to  sing  in  raga  Mohanam  or  Bilahari  or 
both,  There  is  no  mention  of  personal  or  other  security.  Puzzled  by  the  strange 
offer  to  pledge  individual  right  to  sing  in  specific  ragas,  the  Chief  seeks 
clarification.  The  applicants  point  out  how  Todi  Sitararna  Ayyar  got  a  loan 
pledging  his  rights  to  sing  in  raga  Todi  and  how  Sankarabharanam  Narasier 
gotfunds  by  mortgaging  his  rights  to  sing  in  Sankarabharanam  as  security,  hov/ 
they  had  proved  that  the  plighted  word  of  a  true  artiste  is  the  best  of  securities 
and  how  they  did  not  resort  to  their  favourite  fours  de  force  till  they  were 
redeemed.  They  adduce  further  proof  by,  describing  how  the  great  Maha 
Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  himself  had  called  the  song  'Giripaf  (Sahana)  as  the 
property  of  Bikshandarkoil  Subbarayar  and  how  Tyagaraja  relinquished  his 
right  to  compose  in  raga  Anandabhairavi  at  the  instance  of  Tirubhuvanam 
Swaminatha  Ayyar  as  exercises  in  Property  rights  in  ragas'.  The  Bank  Chief 
could  not  reconcile  himself  to  the  validity  of  these  averments  vis-a-vis  the 
Banking  Law.  True  to  the  dictum  that  not  only  things  are  done  well  but  are  seen 
to  be  done  so,  he  requisitions  the  services  of  the  Law  Officer  of  the  Bank.  The 
legal  luminary  starts  giving  an  elaborate  unmusical  alapana  on  the  legality  of 
the  request  as  if  intent  on  tearing  to  shreds  any  remote  possibility  of  the  musical 
project  going  on  steam  with  Bank  funds  got  on  the  basis  of  the  cited  mortgages. 
To  the  misfortune  of  the  musical  luminaries,  he  is  seen  to  be  an  avatar  of  a 
musicologist  ex-officio. 


The  Law  Officer  clarifies  that  Indian  'raga'  has  no  fixed  shape,  notation  or 
set  mode  of  rendition,  that  within  the  broad  portals  of  the  arohana  and  the 
avarohana,  the  musician  improvises  and  innovates  like  the  serene  flights  of 
Garuda  (eagle)  based  on  his  training,  expertise  and  talents  and  such  exposition 
varies  with  each  concert  like  shapes  assumed  by  passing  clouds  or  their 
shadows.  A  genuine  classical  artiste  does  not  /  cannot  conform  to  any  set 
pattern  or  style  in  toto.  He  illustrates  his  point  with  the  known  fact  how  the  same 
raga  adopted  for  different  songs  composed  by  the  same  person,  liberates 
various  shades  of  the  raga  swaroopa  or  shape  without  any  element  of  repetition 
or  duplication  of  graces,  gamakas  and  brikas  or  modes  of  presentation.  Raga 
rendition  thus  does  not  lend  itself  to  be  'patented5  or  'copyrighted'  as  everyting 
is  fresh,  alterable,  original  and  obvious  everytime.  No  artiste  can  claim  to  have 
'created',  'designed'  or  'patented'  a  raga  to  qualify  for  copyright!  If  a  brika 
resembles  T.N.  Rajarathinam's  Tod/,  the  musician  is  not  accused  of  'infringe- 
ment'. Even  if  one  repeats  in  totality  S.G.  Kittappa  songs,  he  is  not  guilty  of  piracy 
or  infringement  since  no  vested  right  is  interfered  with.  Even  the  so-called 
invention  of  ragas  is  nothing  but  bringing  to  light  the  inherent  permutations  and 
combinations  in  the  schemes  of  Venkatamakhin  or  Govindachariar,  Though 
Indian  Copyrights  are  valid  in  countries  which  are  members  of  the  Bern 
Convention,  the  absence  of  basis  for  copyright  in  India  does  not  enable  exercise 
of  any  right  elsewhere  too.  It  is  an  admitted  fact  that  raga  rendition  enjoys  neither 
the  absolute  precision  nor  the  fixed  originality  which  writings,  photographs, 
labels  and  specific  compositions  can  lay  claim  to.  As  a  claim  to  copyright  fails, 
the  element  of  property  rights  is  simply  nullius  juris-  unenforceable  in  law. 

The  artistes  leave  the  legal  luminary  in  his  'charanam'  and  revert  to  their 
'pallavi'  to  lay  stress  again  on  the  cited  cases  of  the  two  musicians  and  insist 
that  their  present  request  could  not  be  viewed  differently.  The  Law  Officer 
marshals  his  knowledge  of  traditions  in  music  and  avers  that  music  programmes, 
programme  content,  values  of  appreciation  and  norms  for  patronage  have 
undergone  radical  changes  in  the  course  of  the  present  century,  that  decades 
back,  concerts  hovered  around  specifics  like  a  pallavi  or  a  particular  raga,  that 
specialisation  in  one  or  more  of  such  specifics  was  then  the  prime  asset  of 
musicians  and  the  expectation  of  the  audience  and  that  is  the  reason  why  we 
hear  of  Pallavi  Sesha  Ayyar,  Pallavi  Gopala  Ayyar,  etc.,  on  the  one  hand  and 
Todi  Sitarama  Ayyar,  Begada  Subramania  Ayyar,  etc.  on  the  other.  Sans  their 
pallavi,  the  former  might  not  have  flourished  and  sans  their  specialisation  in  the 
individual  ragas,  the  latter  category  might  have  forfeited  their  claim  to  glory.  The 
position  is  different  now  and  without  the  specific  ragas  now  offered  as  security, 
the  two  vidwans  could  go  through  hundreds  of  concerts  in  India  and  abroad 
without  any  loss  of  prestige,  position  or  popularity.  Thus  the  specific  assets  which 
the  earlier  vidwans  could  create  and  hold  have  ceased  to  command  similar 
relevance  now. 


The  Legal  Expert  further  mentions  that  even  in  U.K.,  the  earlier  'Musical 
(Summary  Proceedings)  Copyright  Act  1920'  has  ceased  to  be  in  force  but  that 
the  following  definitions  therein  which  extended  copyright  protection  to  'sounds 
recorded  which  were  original  products  of  skill  and  labour'  may  have  significant 
relevance  to  understand  issues. 

'Sound  recordings'  is  defined  as  'the  aggregate  of  sounds  embodied  in  and 
capable  of  being  reproduced  by  means  of  a  record  of  any  description,  other  than 
a  sound  track  associated  with  a  film1  and  'Record'  is  defined  as  'a  disc,  tape, 

For  copyright,  there  should  be  precision  and  invariability  with  originality, 
which  Indian  raga  rendition  does  not  take  credit  for  based  as  it  is  on  spot 
improvisation.  There  were  Dramatic  and  Musical  Performances  Protection  Acts 
enacted  from  time  to  time  in  United  Kingdom  to  protect  what  had  been  created. 
Even  the  Copyright,  Designs  and  Patents  Act,  1988  would  not  cover  musical 
works  unless  and  until  they  are  created.  Rights  could  accrue  on  the  creation 
and  existence  of  something  in  this  context  but  not  before  its  advent  or  birth. 

CHAIRMAN:  'Could  you  put  the  structure  of  the  legal  position  in  brief?1 

Law  Officer:  Yes  Sir.  Long  back,  musicians  specialised  either  in  ragam, 
tanam  and  pallavi  or  in  select  ragas  they  became  famous  for.  In  result,  they 
were  Invested' with  the  credit  for  the  specialisation  and  in  due  course  the  credit 
came  to  be  treated  as  a  'deemed  asset'.  While  it  was  in  truth  an  intellectual 
asset,  it  did  not  amount  to  'property'  in  legal  terms.  Sans  the  specialisation,  the 
musician  had  no  market  for  his  music.  Thus  in  common  parlance,  the  'deemed' 
intellectual  expertise  came  to  be  treated  as  'property'.  There  was,  of  course,  no 
means  of  enforcing  a  mortage  in  the  event  of  non-redemption.  ^ 

But  now  musicians  are  generalists  owing  to  changes  in  concert  patterns  and 
public  tastes.  One  could  carry  on  for  decades  without  redeeming  the  mortgaged 
raga.  While  Narasier  or  Sitarama  Ayyar  could  not  hope  to  flourish  in  the 
present  day,  our  senior  vidwans  would  have  to  specialise  considerably  if 
they  were  to  give  concerts  in  those  conditions.  Hence  the  'mortgage  of 
ragas'  indulged  in  yester  decades  is  not  available  to  the  distinguished  vidwans 
before  you/ 

CHAIRMAN:  Thank  you.' 

The  Chairman  feels  relieved  of  his  burden  by  the  lucid  exposition  of  his  Law 
Officer  and  is,  in  fact,  surprised  at  the  vast  compass  and  depth  of  his  knowledge 
and  smiles  with  relief  as  if  bidding  good-bye.  The  cruel  alapana  on  the  legality 
of  property  rights  in  raga  rendition  floors  the  musicians  and  their  spirits  dip  to 
anumandara  even  as  the  lift  carrying  them  touches  the  basement. 




'Music  is  the  highest  art  and,  to  those  who  understand,  is  the  highest 
worship',  declared  Swami  Vivekananda.  Purandara  Dasa  fully  understood  it; 
and  had  thoughtfully  followed  the  'Sthula  Arundhati  Nyaya*  in  taking  the 
students  of  music  step  by  step.  The  method  is  named  after  the  venerable  lady 
and  not  after  her  exalted  spiritual  spouse  Vasishta  !  A  rare  and  rich  tribute  to 
Womanhood  indeed  !  Quite  a  large  number  of  ragas  are  named  after  women. 
The  presiding  deities  of  Learning  and  Fortune  are  Goddesses.  Vivekananda 
extols  womanhood  and  in  the  same  breath  bemoans  their  lot  thus: 

11  Thou  are  the  Goddess  of  Fortune.  Thou  are  the  supreme  Goddess...  The  goddess  who 
resides  in  all  beings  as  Power.  '  The  Gods  are  pleased  where  women  are  held  in 
esteem  ',  says  the  old  Manu. 

Why  is  it  that  our  country  is  the  weakest  and  the  most  backward  of  all  countries  ? 
Because  Shakti  is  held  in  dishonour.  Without  the  grace  of  Shakti  nothing  is  to  be 
accomplished...  To  me,  Mother's  grace  is  a  hundred  times  more  valuable  than  Father's... 
fie  on  him  who  has  no  devotion  for  the  Mother....  If  an  Indian  woman  in  Indian  dress 
preaches  the  religion  which  fell  from  the  lips  of  the  Rishis  of  India,  it  will  inundate  the 
Western  world.  Will  there  be  no  women  in  the  'and  of  Maitreyi,  Khana,  Lilavati,  Savitri 
and  Ubhayabharati?"  * 


How  far  and  in  what  measure  did  Bharat  respond  to  the  call  of  the  Swamiji? 
Confining  the  theme  immediately  to  the  realm  of  music,  and  more  presently  to 
Classical  Carnatic  music,  it  is  seen  that  just  a  few  musicians  from  the  fair  sector 
had  lent  grace  and  image  to  the  ambrosial  art  allotted  to  women  by  the  great 
tamil  poet  Sekkizhar  when  he  says,  Arambayar  Sangita  OIL  It  is  relevant  to 
make  mention  of  some: 

Bangalore  Nagarathinam  Ammal:  A  devoted  lady  whose  life,  wealth  and 
time  were  laid  at  the  altar  of  classical  music  and  who  immortalised  her  life  by 
taking  the  initiative  to  construct  the  Samadhi  of  Sri  Tyagaraja.  There  were 
disciples  galore  but  it  was  left  to  the  eternal  fame  of  this  lady-musician  to  achieve 
it!  (WdePartll.) 

Coimbatore  Thayee:  Though  she  did  not  enjoy  a  majestic  (gambhira)  voice, 
her  tone  and  rendition  were  soothing  and  aesthetically  satisfying.  Her  four-hour 

*  Note  :  The  contrast  in  approach  of  the  Swamiji  from  India  and  of  Samuel  Johnson  of  the  West  is 
striking.  Boswell  told  him  that  he  had  been  that  morning  to  a  meeting  of  the  Quakers,  where 
he  heard  a  woman  preach. 

Johnson  : "  'Sir,  a  woman  preaching  is  like  a  dog  walking  on  his  hind  legs.  It  is  not  done  well  ;  but 
you  are  surprised  to  find  it  done  at  all."1  (Boswell) 


concerts  would  start  with  four  kalais  and  with  pallavi  would  come  two  kalais  and 
there  would  be  a  happy  blend  of  javalis,  tamil  songs,  etc.  Kivalur  Ramachandra 
Ayyar  and  Veenai  Dhanammal  were  among  her  gurus.  She  had  given  discs. 
Enjoyed  an  extensive  repertoire.  Tiruvotriyur  Tyagayyar  was  her  patron, 

Tiruvidaimarudur  Bhavani:  That  she  took  to  music  at  the  advanced  age  of 
twenty^five  did  not  deter  her  climbing  the  peak.  High-  pitched  voice,  fast-moving 
rendition,  bewildering  birkas  and  'a/raram'  marked  her  concerts  covering  kritis 
in  different  languages  and  tillana.  Enjoyed  a  ringing  voice.  Srivanjiam  Ganapati 
Ayyar  was  her  guru. 

Enadi  Sisters:  Lakshminarayani  and  Rangiammal:  Disciples  of  Patnam 
Subramania  Ayyar,  they  were  speed  merchants  in  melody  and  a  popular  duo. 

Dhanakoti  Sisters:  Dhartakoti  Animal  and  Kamakshi  Ammal:  They 
belonged  to  the  Syama  Sastri  disciple-line.  Kamakshi  Ammal  was  Kanchipuram 
Naina  Pillai's  mother  and  in  a  way  T.  Mukta's  guru.  The  sisters  had  powerful, 
resonant  voice  and  their  concerts  were  gripping  and  popular.  Puducheri 
Rangaswami  Ayyar  gave  them  advanced  training  in  the  intricacies  and  nuances 
of  rendition  at  concerts,  They  were  adepts  in  pallavi  rendition  -  a  rare  feat  for 
musicians  of  the  fair  sex.  They  enjoyed  an  immense  repertoire.  (Vide  page  49 
of  A  Garland.) 

Madras  Peria  Pappammal  and  Radha  Ammal:  They  were  daughters  of 
Salem  Meenakshi  and  were  giving  concerts  in  numbers. 

Tiruvarur  Rajayee:  The  chosen  child  of  Melody,  Rajayee  was  a  child 
prodigy.  A  melody  queen,  she  was  the  delight  of  the  cognoscenti  and  the  lay. 
She  came,  conquered  and  disappeared  when  she  was  just  five  and  twenty. 
(Vide  Part  II.) 

Bangalore  Thayee:  She  was  a  musician  of  chaste  techniques  and 
aesthetics.  'I  listened  to  a  recital  by  her  in  1923,  She  began  with  Veena 
Kuppier'stanavarnain  Begada.  I  was  quite  familiar  with  it.  But  the  lady's  version 
was  a  revelation.  It  was  brilliant  and  arresting.  It  brought  instant  tears  to  my 
eyes.'(R.R.  Ayyangar) 

Mudicondan  Venkatararna  Ayyar,  T.  Sankaran  and  'Dhanyan'  give  absorbing 
account  of  these  lady-artistes.  Besides  these,  there  were  Tiruvidaimarudur 
Pankajam,  Veenai  Dhanammal,  Dhanam  Sisters,  Tirunelveli  Rangamma  and 
Shanmughavadivu.  Veenai  Dhanammal  was  a  colossus;  Shanmugavadivu  was 
popular  and  K.B,  Sundarambal  was  a  star  in  dramas  and  had  not  taken  to 
concerts  yet  then. 

Classical  music  was  not  the  monopoly  of  concert  musicians  alone  since  it 
reigned  supreme  on  dramatic  stages  too.  Ladies  had  not  taken  to  the  stage  in 
those  distant  decades  in  numbers  and  feminine  roles  too  were  the  monopoly  of 


male  actors  only.  This  author  himself  has  taken  the  role  of  heroine.  If  women's 
contribution  to  Classical  Carnatic  music  was  meagre  from  vocalists  and  actors, 
it  was  not  much  different  otherwise  too.  Though  flute  is  one  of  the  oldest 
instruments  known  to  Indians,  according  to  Flautist  H.  Ramachandra  Sastri  'only 
in  the  twenties  of  this  century  did  women  like  Valadi  Rukmini  and  Mayavaram 
Silk  Papa  take  to  flute'. 

As  regards  percussion,  it  is  said  that  long  back,  there  was  a  woman  during 
the  Maratha  rule.  Says  T.  Sankaran; 

1  The  first  woman  to  play  on  mridangam  I  knew  of  was  Tirugokarnarn  Ranganayaki 
Ammal,  daughter  of  Sivarama  Nattuvanar.  The  earliest  violinists  I  have  heard  of  were 
M.S.  Subbulakshmi's  grandmother,  and  Kanchipuram  Naina  Pillars  grandmother 
Visalakshi  Ammal.  Veena  was  an  accepted  ladies'  instrument  but  in  reality  was 
dominated  only  by  males. ' 

He  too  confirms  that  the  first  woman  flautist  was  Valadi  Rukmini.  It  is 
surprising  to  find  that  the  foremost  flautist  of  all  times  and  the  Prince  of  Sringara 
rasa  had  not  chosen  to  impart  training  in  flute-play  even  to  his  divine  consorts 
Rukmini  and  Radha!  The  earliest  to  sing  pallavi  was  Palani  Anjugathammal, 
mother  of  Palani  Subramania  Pillai.  The  first  woman  musician  who  asserted  her 
equality  with  men  in  the  dexterous  handling  of  laya  and  swara  through  pallavi  is 
only  Sangita  Kalanidhi  O.K.  Pattammal.  There  was  a  musical  joke  on  this  in  fact. 
The  patron  host  enquired  whether  the  lady-musician  knew  'pallavi'. 
Promptly  the  artiste's  mother  cut  in  with  obvious  pride,  'why  pallavi  alone, 
she  knows  anupallavi  and  charanam  too'. 

But  it  is  seen  that  they  were  all  closely  attached  to  their  native  soil  and  dicf 
not  cross  the  Carnatic  frontiers.  Melody  has  attracted  in  recent  decades  vast 
numbers  of  votaries  from  women  and  several  of  them  have  made  their  advent 
on  foreign  soil  too.  A  few  have  caught  the  imagination  of  the  West  with  their 
captivating  melody  like  Dr.  M.S.  Subbulakshmi,  Dr.M.L  Vasantakumari  and 
Sangita  Kalanidhi  O.K.  Pattammal.  Dr.  M.S.  Subbulakshmi  was  easily  India's 
first  internationally  known  singer  making  her  debut  at  all  the  Western  great 
centres  and  she  has  endeared  herself  to  thousands  of  music-lovers  the  world 
over.  Dr.  M.L  Vasantakumari  did  likewise.  Many  others  too  have  taken  Carnatic 
music  across  the  seas  with  merit.  But  the  overall  effort  is  spasmodic  and  the 
effect  inadequate.  The  impact  of  their  visits  and  the  momentum  created  are  yet 
to  attain  the  measure  of  Inundation'  or  conquest  as  visualised  by  Vivekananda 
almost  a  century  back. 


While  the  advent  of  performing  women  artistes  is  presently  on  the  arohana, 
no  such  development  is  visible  in  the  allied  art  of  composition.  In  the  past  too, 
it  was  negligible  confined  to  a  few  like  Tallapakkam  Thimmakka,  Rangajamma, 


mistress  of  Rajah  Vijaya  Raghava  Nayak  (1 637-1 673)  who  wrote  'Mannaru  Dasa 
Vilasarri,  a  yakshagana  enacted  in  the  court,  Ramachandramba  who  wrote 
'Raghunathabhyudayam',  Kuttikunju  Thangacchi,  D.  Pattammal,  Andavan 
Pichai  and  Ambujam  Krishna  justifying  the  dictum  of  Sir  Thomas  Beecham: 

1  There  are  no  women  composers; 
never  have  been  and 
possibly  never  will  be. ' 

Why  is  this  barrenness  and  drought  ?  Indian  womanhood  was  not  incapable 
of  attaining  scholarship.  Gargi  -participated  in  the  deliberations  of  Janaka's 
Council  of  the  Learned.  Maitreyi,  wife  of  Sage  Yajnavalkya  was  a  philosopher. 
Sarasavani  was  the  arbiter  for  the  disputation  between  Adi  Sankara  and 
Mandanamisra.  Avvaiyar's  image  is  transcendental  and  contribution 
magnificent.  But  they  figure  as  isolated  planets  in  the  otherwise  starless  sky. 


Tyagaraja  and  Muthuswami  Dikshitar  had  each  two  spouses  who  lived  in  an 
Ocean  of  Melody,  Composition  and  Scholarship.  Had  they  not  accepted  the 
world  as  it  came  to  them  and  adopted  the  glory  and  eminence  of  their  Lords  as 
their  own  presumably  asserting  their  faith  in  the  concept  of  Ardhanarishwaral 
The  success  of  their  spouses  was  theirs  and  they  died  gloriously  and 
contentedly  before,  and  figuratively  on  the  lap  of,  their  spouses.  Did  not  King 
Janaka  tell  Rama,  This  is  my  daughter  Sita  who  shall  follow  you  like  your  own 
shadow  and  help  you  in  your  acts  and  shall  consider  you  as  her  own  self  '  - 
"/yam  Sita  ..."?  What  a  glorious  sacrifice  it  was  sans  ego  \  Self  effacement  in 
entirety  !!.  The  good  Samaritan  S.  Vedanayakam  Pillai  married  five  women  one 
after  another  and  what  was  their  contribution?  Nil.  Pillai  is  eloquent  in  praising 
family  women  in  his  Kula  Stri.  They  had  all  illumined  his  home  and  left  name 
and  fame  to  him.  Nagaswara  maestro  T.N.  Rajarathinam  kept  parity  with  him 
and  married  five;  and  from  dawn  to  dusk,  why  whole  nights  even,  they  should 
have  been  suckled  and  lullabied  to  sleep  with  delightful  melody  from  the  magical 
instrument  of  Pillai.  Perhaps  the  junior-most  alone  had  touched  the  instrument, 
There  was  some  consolation  from  the  home  of  Kanchipuram  Naina  Pillai.  While 
his  first  wife  Kuttiyamma  fell  in  line  with  the  customary  practice,  the  second, 
Kuppamma  learnt  music  from  Mannargudi  Pakkiria  Pillai  and  along  with  her 
sister  Ramatilakam,  a  disciple  of  her  husband,  gave  concerts.  Odeon  Company 
had  recorded  her  music  too.  They  were  professionals. 

The  homes  of  the  stalwarts  of  Carnatic  music  had  been  flooded  with  the  visits 
of  the  cultured  cream  of  composers,  performing  artistes,  musicologists  and 
scholars,  stay  of  scores  of  disciples  learning  under  gurukulavasa  and  with 
demonstrations  and  discussions  humming  with  intellectual  activity  of  the  noblest 


grade.  If  one  avers,  'Woman,  thy  name  is  Music',  not  a  whisper  of  protest  shall 
be  heard.  It  is  a  natural  fact.  If  Sarabha  Sastri  couid  recite  without  tuitions 
Vedas  taught  by  a  priest  to  his  pupils  on  the  pial  of  the  opposite  house  In  toto, 
how  could  women  have  remained  free  from  claiming  similar  assimilated 
knowledge  and  expertise?  If  sons  could  claim  and  inherit  musical  legacy,  why 
did  not  daughters,  sisters  and  wives?  Heritability  of  immovable  property  had 
been  confined  to  males  by  deliberate  intent  but  there  was  no  such  overt  inhibition 
or  bar  extending  to  intellectual  property  viz.,  the  different  branches  of  music.  No 
home  was  complete  without  women  singing  lullabies  in  excelsis  and  no  marriage 
or  function  was  complete  without  women  singing  ingenue  (as  unsophisticated 
persons) .  What  was  then  the  inhibition  that  had  prevented  women  flowering  forth 
as  top  musicians  and  composers? 

'Men  are  nervous  of  remarkable  women',  said  J.M,  Barrier.  Male  chauvinism 
was  the  culprit  that  made  it  infra  dignitatem  for  women  to  compete  and  master. 
This  phenomenon  is  not  peculiar  to  India  as  the  following  anecdote  from  Boswell 
should  confirm. 

I  At  breakfast,  Dr.  Johnson  received  a  letter  which  seemed  to  agitate  him  very  much  ;  he 

II  One  of  the  most  dreadful  things  that  has  happened  in  my  time  ...  Mr.  Thrale  has  lost  his 
only  son!   .  . .   This  is  a  total  extinction  to  their  family,  as  much  as  if  they  were  sold  into 

Upon  my  mentioning  that  Mr.  Thrale  had  daughters, 
11  Daughters! ",  said  Johnson  warmly,  "he'll  no  more  value  his  daughters  than  . . . " ' 

Unconscious  self-  interest  and  jealousy  had  dictated  that  women  shall  be 
kept  away  from  a  field  where  they  were  sure  to  excel;  and,  in  result,  art  and 
science  had  lost  possible  weighty  contributions  of  the  most  laudable  nature  from 
a  moiety  of  the  nation.  O.K.  Pattammal  claims  that  music  is  the  property  and 
preserve  of  women.  But  it  was  not  reflected  in  practice.  The  care  and  corpus  of 
the  alleged  right  stand  unclaimed  still  . 

Women  do  exercise  influence  at  homes  and  elsewhere.  Even  Vivekananda 
wrote  so  a  century  back  -  of  course,  from  America: 

1 1  must  first  go  and  buy  some  clothing. 
That  is  what  the  ladies  advise  me  to  do  ! ' 

Nobel  Laureate  Sir  C.V.  Raman  as  a  budding  scientist  of  nineteen,  during 
his  Presidency  College  days  at  Madras,  fell  in  love  with  Lokasundari  and  married 
her  as  a  bride  of  thirteen.  In  her  theosophist  brother's  house,  she  sang  and 
played  on  the  veena  'Rama  nee  samana  mevaru'  (Kharaharapriya) .  (Which 
Rama  she  had  in  mind  is  not  clear!)  Raman  refused  the  dowry  offered  and  proved 
that  he  was  non  pare/7 !  An  accomplished  veena  player,  she  was  a  great  force 


influencing  his  whole  life  but  chose  to  remain  as  his  shadow. 
(C.M.  Ramachandra).  Even  in  the  home  of  that  most  enlightened  Indian  Scientist 
where  there  was  copious  love,  the  Indian  lady  had  found  her  advent  on  this 
planet  satisfying  to  see  her  Lord  receive  the  coveted  Nobel  Prize  and  remain 
his  alter  ego  with  her  veena. 

Convention,  custom,  injunctions  of  religion  and  the  impact  of  classic 
examples  from  the  epics  had  inculcated  a  deep  sense  of  devotion  in  women  to 
their  spouses  and  homes  and  they  took  pride  in  playing  the  role  of 
grihalakshmi(s)  (Queens  of  the  Homes)  to  shape  the  destinies  of  the  male  folk 
and  children  and  share  their  homely  joys  and  glories  playing  a  secondary, 
supplementary  and  ancillary  role  in  all  non-domestic  fields  including  music,  Man 
exalted  the  melody  of  woman  but  had  not  thought  it  fit  to  invest  her  with  a 
knowledge  of  theory  and  allow  her  to  become  and  blossom  into  composers  and 
concert-worthy  musicians.  It  was  assumed  to  be  infra  dig  to  the  status  of  the 
family.  If  there  was  art  in  the  icon  and  idol  of  goddesses  in  temples  and  caves, 
there  was  beauty  and  innate  music  in  the  goddesses  at  homes.  The  one  in  the 
temple  and  its  replica  at  home  were  idolised  but  none  had  composed  and  few 
were  allowed  to  sing  in  public!  One  contributory  factor  was  that  training  and 
performance  were  essentially  rural-based  till  the  fifties  of  this  century  and 
women  commanded  only  restricted  facilities  for  travel  and  stay.  The  scope  for 
musical  advent  in  rural  environment  in  yester  decades  was  thus  little.  Religion 
conferred  status  on  woman  in  enjoining  on  her  presence  at  ceremonies.  Custom 
glorified  her  status  and  image  but  that  did  not  extend  to  males  permitting  or 
ladies  taking  to  present  concerts  and  composing!!!  That  resulted  in  a  drought  of 
lady-artistes  and  a  complete  famine  of  lady-composers.  The  sun,  of  course, 
peeped  through  the  winter  clouds  occasionally  only  to  be  shadowed  out  and 
swallowed  by  denser  clouds.  It  was  all  peep-bo  (hiding  and  appearing)!  Not 
Sambho,  the  all  pervasive. 

The  ruddy  edge  of  the  tropical  sun  at  dawn  would  seem  to  prophesy  an 
inundation  of  bright  sunshine.  In  what  measure  and  depth,  only  the  Oracle  could 
say.  May  we  look  forward  to  weighty  contributions  from  woman-composers! 

"  What  have  i  done  to  keep  in  mind 
My  debt  to  her  and  womankind? 

4  Men  triumph  over  women  still, 
Men  trample  women's  rights  at  will, 
And  Man's  lust  roves  the  world  untamed. 

O  grave,  shut  lest  I  be  shamed. 

—  (C.LM.  -  John  Masefield) 



Let  Experts 

'What  will  the  future  of  Classical  Carnatic  music  be',  is  an  oft-repeated  issue. 
If  the  number  of  performing  artistes  and  apprentices  is  the  criterion,  there  is  no 
need  for  any  apprehension,  But  there  is  a  persistent  and  visible  fall  in 
audience-attendance  at  concerts.  There  has  been  a  marked  shift  in  styles, 
concert-content  and  quality  of  specialisation.  Musicology  is  said  to  be 
commanding  fewer  voteries  while  pallavi,  ragamalika  and  such  other  specialised 
items  have  practically  disappeared.  There  is  a  persistent  feeling  that  standards 
have  fallen  and  full-time  nadopasakas  among  the  up-coming  generations  are 
not  many.  It  is,  therefore,  suggested  that  the  issue  be  brought  to  focus  in  the 
context  of  international  trends  and  views.  The  diverse  trends  in  regard  to  music 
are  briefly  touched  upon  here.  The  ambit  of  this  brief  exercise  is  limited  but  it 
should  enable  and  lead  to  an  in-depth,  comprehensive  analysis.  The  most 
self-assuring  view  is  that  of  T.S.  Parthasarathy  of  the  Music  Academy,  Madras; 

1  Indian  music  is  on  the  march,  sensitive  to  all  the  winds  that  blow  in  world  music  and 
responding  to  new  influences.  It  represents  the  peak  to  which  an  Oriental  System  of 
Music,  with  melody  as  its  base,  could  reach  and  yet  be  receptive  to  ideas  and  capable 
of  growth.  This  priceless  heritage  of  India  deserves  to  be  preserved  for  the  uplift  of  the 
level  of  consciousness  of  its  human  society. ' 



What  T.S.  Parthasarathy  has  said  would  seem  to  be  the  cry  of  a  robust  heart, 
an  ardent  cry  of  desire,  since  many  artistes  allegedly  pursue  video  meliora 
proboque,  defer/bra  sequor(\  see  and  approve  the  better  course,  but  pursue  the 
worse)  !  Here  is  a  general  opinion  of  a  very  competent  and  sympathetic 

1  What  does  sadden  me,  however,  is  the  way,  in  which,  with  unseemly  haste,  every  tribe 
promptly  abandons  its  own  idiom,  most  people  their  characteristic  music  style  and 
language  to  play  admittedly  great  Western  works....  thus  destroying  their  ancient 
irreplaceable  gift  of  improvisation... 'More  than  ever  it  is,  therefore,  important  to  maintain 
a  very  high  level  of  creative,  musical  education. ' 

— Yehudi  Menuhin  - '  Great  Masterp  of  the  Violin '  by  Boris  Schwartz, 

While  Yehudi  Menuhin  bemoans  the  abject  surrender  to  West,  Paul  Brunton 
draws  attention  with  vehemence  and  sorrow  to  the  multi-sided  damage  that  is 
being  caused  : 


1  These  artists,  who  are  truly  dedicated  and  occasionally  truly  inspired,  will  not  be  found 
in  the  contemporary  mass  movement  of  those  who  mistake  their  bizarre  subconscious 
nonsense...  Let  these  new  art  forms  take  their  place  for  those  who  are  attuned  to  them: 
let  these  forms  coexist  with  the  older  ones.  But  let  not  the  Good,  the  True  and  the 
Beautiful  in  the  past  be  thrown  aside  and  trampled  on  by  intolerant  innovation...  Much 
Modem  Art  and  poetry,  music  and  literature  is  derived  from  sources  that  have  nothing 
to  do  with  genuine  art.  Neuroses,  psychoses,  imbalances  and  decadence  itself  are  often 
its  roots. ' 

Having  given  expression  to  his  findings,  fears  and  fulminatsons  with 
conviction  and  clarity,  eloquence  and  emphasis,  Paul  Brunton  underscores  the 
secret  and  significance  of  true  art : 

1  What  is  the  final  cal!  of  true  art  ?  Not  to  the  work  which  expresses  it  but  to  the  spirit 
which  inspires  it,  the  divine  source  of  which  it  reminds  us...  The  classical  arts  of  several 
oriental  countries  served  a  double  purpose  for  their  better  practitioners.  They  were 
professional  means  of  earning  a  living  and  also  part  of  a  spiritual  path. ' 


While  Yehudi  Menuhin  regrets  the  loss  of  soul  (and  he  has  been  a  true 
admirer  of  Indian  classicism),  Paul  Brunton  refers  to  modernism,  neo-classicism 
and  the  resuJtant  promiscuity.  The  French  Musicologist  and  Philosopher, 
Prof.  Alain  Daniclou  lays  bare  the  general  trend  stating  : 

'  The  present  promiscuity  in  culture  tends  to  create  hybrid  low  standard  by-products.  We 
have  today  a  sort  of  universal  pie-music,  universal  pie-painting,  universal 
pie-architecture..,  these  belong  to  no  culture. ' 

The  loss  of  link  and  continuity  with  the  basic  culture  and  hybridisation 
demoralise,  demolish  and  destroy  oriental  arts  much  more  imminently  because 
of  the  abject  surrender  to  the  onslaught  of  Western  or  other  influences.  A 
nebulous  situation  arises  with  Western,  pseudo-modern,  neo-classical  systems 
vying  with  each  other  and  in  the  effort  destroying  the  spirit  and  soul  of  the 
ancient  art.  Prof.  Dragotin  Cretro  of  Yugoslavia  dissects  the  underlying 
contradictions  and  hidden  dangers  thus  ; 

1  The  connection  between  music  and  religion  in  Indian  Culture  differs  from  that  in 

the  West.  In  India,  secular  music  too  was  closely  connected  with  religion  and  even 
nowadays  the  religious  element  is  there.  Since  India  and  the  West  have  developed  two 
different  social  systems  and  two  different  cultures,  their  music  too  is  of  necessity 
different...  Any  adjustment  in  the  sense  of  mutual  equation  between  the  two  types  of 
music  is  actually  undesirable  and  might  even  be  harmful.  The  problem  of 
hybridisation  does  not  exist  in  Western  music,  or  at  least  not  in  the  same  sense  as 
it  does  in  the  threatened  non-Western  types  of  music.  This  is  a  further  reason  why  India 
should  do  all  she  can  to  preserve  such  a  priceless  heritage  as  her  old  classical  music/ 

Cretro  draws  pointed  attention  to  the  fact  that  it  would  be  the  Indian  art  which 
would  commit  hara-kiri.  Self-reverence,. self-control  and  self-respect  should 


dictate  that  the  weil-meaning  advice  is  not  ignored  in  the  interest  of  the  hearth 
and  future  of  Indian  music,  the  oldest  of  musical  systems  still  vibrant. 

1  Let  many  a  flower  bloom  ', '  Difference  is  the  sine  qua  non  of  the  times  ', 
1  End  stagnation,  introduce  variations  '  and  such  slogans  are  easily  circulated 
as  a  mark  of  progressiveness,  which  is  in  danger  of  drifting  into  adventurism. 
Differences  -  What  do  they  signify  and  connote?  Yehudi  Menuhin  too  said  so  but 
what  he  means  is  different  and  it  is  to  insure  the  health  of  Indian  music  as  will 
be  seen  from  his  clear  elucidation  : 

'  We  Sove  each  other  not  only  for  what  we  have  In  common  but  for  the  differences  between 
us  also...  The  very  basic  between  man  and  woman  depends  on  this  difference.,  so  it  is 
with  all  differences...  We  must  concentrate  on  the  importance  of  the  differences  between 
us.  They  bring  us  colour;  they  bring  us  variety...  It  is  important  for  India  to  preserve  the 
variety...  One  listens  to  Western  music  for  entertainment.  The  Indian  approach  is  one 
of  depth  and  continuity  in  time.  In  listening  to  and  understanding  music,  there  are  two 
basic  approaches  -  one  of  intellectual  analysis  and  the  other  of  empathetic  or 
sympathetic  transference  of  our  perceiving  personality  into  the  other  sphere.' 

(Emphasis  supplied) 

The  difference  is  supplied  by  Carnatic  v.  Hindustani,  by  the  subtle  variations 
in  voice,  tempo,  style,  improvisation,  varieties  of  compositions,  ragas,  talas,  etc. 
In  the  name  of  importing,  introducing  differences,  the  structural  basis  ought  not 
to  be  undermined  and  demolished.  Pie-music  (kichadi  or  avial  type^  which 
harangues  and  inflicts  itself  on  the  audience  may  provide  momentary  thrill  to 
some  but  the  ever-lasting  benefit,  cultural  elevation  and  legacy  will  be  sacrificed. 
Differences  constitute  the  soul  and  essence  of  Indian  music  but  they  have  to  be 
within  the  portals  of  the  system.  Ludwig  Pesch  who  had  done  much  to  study  this 
during  his  training  at  Kalakshetra  says  : 

'  Music  always  transcends  national,  verbal,  mental  and  philosophical  limitations  which 
account  for  its  universal  appeal  beyond  cultures...  (But)  comparison  requires  common 
features  or  parameters  of  which  few  are  shared  between  Classical  Carnatic  music  and 
genuine  Classical  Western  music.' 

What  Peggy  Glanville-Rics,  an  avant-garde  composer,  says  is  highly  relevent: 

1 1  threw  out  harmony...  I  began  to  realise  that !  had  developed  a  musical  organism  very 
similar  to  the  patterns  of  antiquity;  a  melody  rhythm  structure,  a  variable  model  raga  and 
a  multi-coloured  rhythm  element  of  greatly  enhanced  freedom. ' 


Transmitted  orally  through  centuries,  Indian  music  is,  in  essence,  (in  spite 
of  all  notations,  codification  and  patterning  of  styles  of  rendition)  improvised, 
innovative,  gamaka  and  ornamentation-based  unlike  the  Western  counterpart, 
which  was  also  once  partly  oral  and  traditional  as  seen  from  what  Douglas 


H,  Leedy  of  Oregon  states  : 

1  It  is  known  from  various  writers  that  good  performers  (of  the  West)  added  extempore 
embellishment  to  their  vocal  and  instrumental  line..,,  even  in  earlier  periods  performer 
improvisation  was  an  important,  indeed  indispensable,  part  of  the  musical  style...  any 
well  trained  sixteenth  century  musician  would  improvise  on  the  spot. ' 

Can  a  pianist  of  today  vary  the  ornamentation  of  Beethoven  sonata  movement 
from  that  which  is  printed? 

'  The  idea!  answer  must  be  "Yes";  but  the  practical  answer  seems  to  be  "No1", 

affirms  Leedy.  Notation  has  dried  up  the  springs  and  driven  out  the  seeds  of 

The  cause  for  the  basic  exclusiveness  and  differences  is  mentioned  by 
H.I.  Koeilr  Cutter  very  succinctly  thus  : 

Two  fundamentally  differing  sets  of  human  genii  and  attributes  of  consciousness  created 
two  different  musical  traditions  as  complementary  factors.  We  must  learn  to  understand 
the  world  as  a  whole. ' 

There  is  a  conscious  effort  towards  this  in  the  West.  Says  Narayana  Menon: 

1  Many  young  composers  in  Europe  and  America  are  being  attracted  by  the  music  of 
India.  The  subtlety  of  our  melodic  line,  the  complexity  of  our  rhythms,  the  spontaneity 
of  our  music-making  were  to  them  like  a  breath  of  fresh  air.  ' 

Vivekananda  too  said  so  about  Indian  philosophy  and  spiritual  endeavour  a 
century  back.  While  the  'balance  of  trade1  in  the  export  of  Indian  Classicism  and 
import  of  everything  else  is  not  favourable  to  the  Indian  system,  it  should  be 
mentioned  that  classical  musicians  continue  to  spread  the  art  of  India.  For 
instance  Ustad  Ali  Akbar  Khan  says  ; 

1  Indian  music  is  like  a  river  that  has  come  down  to  us  through  time  bringing  nurture  to 
man's  soul...  I  started  classes  at  California  and  Europe.  I  have  had  six  thousand  students 
across  the  world...  My  attitude  and  methods  create  an  ashram-like  atmosphere;  there 
is  a  thread  ceremony  for  initiating  a  newcomer  into  disciplehood... ' 

No  wonder  Khan  has  been  given  a  grant  of  Rupees  ten  crores  for  his  efforts 
(Vide  Part  III).  With  all  the  homilies,  a  sincere  admirer  of  the  Indian  Classical 
music  may  be  inspired  by  the  sincere  and  honest  assertiveness  of  Amir 
Khushrau  seven  centuries  back: 

*  The  musical  system  originated  in  India.  And  Indian  music,  the  fire  that  burns  heart 
and  soul,  is  superior  to  the  music  of  any  other  country.  Foreigners,  even  after  a 
stay  of  thirty  or  forty  years  in  India,  cannot  play  a  single  Indian  tune  correctly. ' 

-In  'NuhSiphi* 


This  opinion  is  shared  by  many  authorities.  But  apart  from  the  truncated 
courses  of  Universities  and  other  institutions,  correspondence  courses  and 
classes  on  phone  too  flourish  !  The  Spirit  of  Indian  music  is  caged  in  cassettes, 
notations,  phone  and  other  commercial  auxiliaries.  Should  Yehudi  Menuhin 
have  to  warn  again  that  India  is  abandoning  its  own  idiom,  its  own  irreplaceable 
gift  of  improvisation  and  its  high  level  of  creative  music? 

Prof.  S.R.  Janakiraman  on  perusing    the  above  has  this  observation  to 
make  : 

1 A  rare  privilege  and  intellectual  pleasure  providing  at  the  same  time  food  for  thought  It 
would  certainly  enable  anyone  to  get  a  glimpse  of  the  highly  elevated  mental  plane  of 
a  good  many  sane  thinkers  on  the  subject  spread  throughout  the  world  of  music.  A 
few  sayings  or  statements  are  worthy  of  being  engraved  on  metal  lest  they  should 
perish  by  the  frolic  of  time  such  as  : 

11  What  does  sadden  me,  however,  is  the  way  in  which  with  unseemly  haste  every  tribe 
promptly  abandons  its  own  idiom...  destroying  their  ancient  irreplaceable  gift...  important 
to  maintain  a  very  high  level  of  creative  musical  education."  -Yehudi  Menuhin. 

The  counter  of  Paul  Brunton  subscribed  to  the  above  thought  too  deserves  mention  as 
one  from  a  judicious  thinker.  But  there  too  Brunton  does  not  fail  to  observe, "...  let  not 
the  Good,  the  True  and  the  Beautiful  in  the  past  be  thrown  aside  and  trampled  on  by 
intolerant  innovation".  Differences  are  the  essence  of  Indian  music  but  they  have  to  be 
within  the  portals  of  the  system.  Ludwig  Pesch  gives  expression  to  a  great  truth  when 
he  says, "  Music  always  transcends  national,  verbal,  mental  and  philosophical  limitations 
which  account  for  the  universal  appeal  beyond  cultures  ".  Peggy  Glanviile's  quotation 
should  not  be  missed  by  any  inquiring  mind  engaged  in  a  comparative  appreciation  of 
the  subtleties  of  harmony  and  melody. ' 

I  have  placed  before  the  discerning  public  the  opinions  of  reputed 
authorities.  Trends  have  no  chartered  course.  Amidst  the  bewildering, 
aggressive  pulls  and  counter-pulls,  classicism  is  but  a  hapless  leaf  caught  in  the 
whirlpools  of  gushing  waters  in  a  river  running  down  a  steep  gradient  during  a 
cyclone.  None  has  any  control  over  its  destiny.  Vempatti  Chinna  Satyam,  the 
celebrated  dancer,  is  reported  to  have  expressed  the  view  that  classical  arts  are 
like  water  in  a  temple  tank  which  needs  continuous  inflow  of  fresh  water  to  serve 
its  purpose.  There  ought  to  be  no  rigidity  for  tradition's  sake.  There  is  need  for 
replenishment  and  revitalisation  -  an  evolutionary  process  -  to  provide  fresh 
vigour.  But  whether  it  needs  to  be  regulated  inflows  into  the  Classical  Reservoir 
or  unregulated  and  uncontrolled  flood  waters  which  may  even  breach  its  bunds 
and  empty  the  Reservoir  of  its  classical  waters  is  the  issue.  It  offers  no  simple 
solution  and  is  a  rich  field  for  intensive  thought  and  research  by  reputed  scholars, 
sober  musicians  and  acknowledged  musicologists.  Result-oriented,  effective 
action  is  certainly  a  crying  need. 



The  Arch  Destroyer 

Far  from  our  madding  crowds,  Swami  Vivekananda  wrote  from  Chicago  on 
January  29,  1 894;  /• 

"Three  things  are  necessary  to  make  every  man  great,  every  nation  great: 

i.  Conviction  of  the  powers  of  goodness: 
il.  Absence  of  jealousy  and  suspicion:  and 
Hi.  Helping  all  who  are  trying  to  be  and  do  good. 

Why  should  the  Hindu  nation  with  all  its  wonderful  intelligence  have  gone  to  pieces  ? 
I  would  answer  you, 


Never  were  there  people  more  wretchedly  jealous  of  one  another,  more  envious  of  one 
another's  fame  and  name.. ,  Three  men  cannot  act  in  concert  together  for  five  minutes. .. 
When  will  they  learn  not  to  be  jealous  !" 

In  subsequent  letters,  he  regrets  that  jealousy  is  the  bane  of  our  national 
character  and  on  March  19,  1894  confesses: 

1  We  can  get  rid  of  everything,  but  not  of  that  cursed  jealousy..  That  is  a  national  sin  with 
us...  burning -at  heart  at  the  greatness  of  others.  "Mine  alone  is  the  greatness,  none  else 
should  rise  to  it. " 


That  national  sin  not  only  pervades,  but  is  more  pronounced  and  intense  in 

the  world  of  artistes  where  merit  and  status  are  judged  on  varied  factors  of  which 

glamour  and  the  assertive  character  of '  Mine  alone  is  the  greatness  '  are  not 

the  least.  It  costs  little;  and  it  nurtures  itself.  The  most  favourite  pastime  is  to 

nurse  jealousy  at  other  artistes'  expertise,  wisdom,  voice,  merit,  status  and, 

above  all,  luck.  We  have  seen  in  {A  Garlancf  how  the  Father  of  Tamil  Music 

Renaissance,  Gopala  Krishna  Bharati  suffered  from  the  taunts  and  canards  of 

the  jealous  and  how  Dwaram  Venkataswami  Naidu,  the  violin  maestro  had  to 

face    canards     mothered    by    jealousy.    The    good    samaritan-composer, 

S.  Vedanayakam  Pillai  lost  his  job  of  translator  in  Tiruchirapalli  Court  having 

been  falsely  charged  with  loss  of  records  secreted  by  colleagues  in  a  box. 

Prof.  P,  Sambamurti  mentions  that  when  young  Syama  Sastri  of  the  Trinity 

recited  mantras  musically  in  appropriate  ragas  at  Sri  Kamakshi  Devi  temple, 

Tanjore,  a  pleased  devotee  presented  him  with  a  costly  shawl.  A  highly-elated 

Sastri  ran  to  his  first  guru-  uncle  and  prostrated  before  him  paying  obeisance. 

Jealousy  touched  the  uncle  to  the  quick.  He  flared  up,  tore  Sastri 's  notes  on 

musical  lessons  and  threw  them  away,  Of  course,  Sastri  rose  to  the  peak.  History 


chose  to  tear  off  the  pages  relating  to  the  jealous  uncle.  K.  V.  Srinivasa  Ayyangar 
(Tiger's  brother)  says  that  the  main  profession  of  many  musicians  is  to  find  fault 
in  others.  A  devout  Dasi  composed  lullaby  songs  on  Ramanuja  who  had  Initiated' 
her  and  was  singing  them  melodiously.  Govinda  (later  Acharyar  Embar)  who  was 
passing  by  felt  attracted  and  stood  in  the  street  enchanted  by  and  absorbed  in 
the  music  and  the  song  -  the  Visishtadvaitin  turning  literally  into  an  Advaitin  for 
a  moment,  his  heart  and  soul  merging  with  soulful  music.  Even  before  he  could 
reach  Ramanuja,  the  tale  that  he  spent  much  time  in  front  of  the  Dasi's  house 
had  reached  the  master  Ramanuja  !  That  is  the  world  ! 

Note  :  That  is  the  world!  Yes.  Here  is  an  account  of  the  great  Oliver  Goldsmith.  'The  jealousy  and 
envy,  which,  though  possessed  of  many  most  amiable  qualities,  he  frankly  avowed,  broke 
out  violently...  "We  must  be  angry  that  a  man  has  such  a  superabundance  of  an  odious 
quality,  that  he  cannot  keep  it  within  his  own  breast,  but  it  boils  over",  stated  Samuel 
Johnson  adding  that  one  should  be  angry  with  such  a  man  !  -  Boswell. 


Musical  titans  were  able  to  marshal  and  bring  to  practice  scriptural 
injunctions.  Has  not  the  Lord  (Sri  Krishna)  restricted  revelation  of  the  greatest 
secret,  the  most  profound  knowledge  to  free  oneself  from  the  sorrows  of  life  only 
to  those  who  do  not  cavil  or  carp  ?  (Chapter  IX- 1  of  Gita).  Does  He  not  call 
Arjuna  Anasuya  ? 


Asuya  comprises  belittling  the  merits  of  others,  finding  fault  with  their  virtues, 
reviling  them  and  attributing  false  blame  to  them.  He  who  is  entirely  free  of  asuya 
is  anasuya.  In  Chapter  XVIII-67,  the  Lord  lays  down  the  rule  that  the  secret 
gospel  of  the  Gita  should  never  be  imparted  to  one  who  cavils  or  finds  fault  with 
HIM  (Abhyasuyathi). 

Atrismriti  34  states  : 

1  He  who  does  not  distract  from  the  merits  of  those  possessing  merits,  praises  even  those 
of  scanty  worth  and  does  not  take  delight  in  the  faults  of  others  is  said  to  possess  the 
virtues  of  Anasuya.  ' 

(Na  gunan  gunino  hanti  sthouti  mandagunanapi 
Nanyadosheshu  ramate  sanasuya  prakirtitah.) 

Jealousy  germinates  slander.  Some  ignore  it  like  Ben  Johnson,  who  said: 

'  Thy  praise  or  dispraise  is  to  me  alike; 
as  one  doth  not  stroke  me,  nor  the  other  strike.1 


,    And  a  century  back,  Swami  Vivekananda  warned  Kali: 

1  Take  not  even  the  slightest  notice  of  what  puerile  creatures  say  against  you. 
Indifference  indifference,  indifference, 
Keep  up  the  deepest  mental  poise.' 

Stoicism  befits  the  great  and  the  yogi  who  could  say  that  sticks  and  stones 
might  break  his  bones  but  words  would  never  hurt  him.  But  what  of  the  iesser 
mortals?  Jealousy  is  said  to  be  second  nature  to  many  an  artiste.  There  is  cure 
for  illness  but  perhaps  none  for  jealousy.  Spiritual  dedication  to  truth  in  thought, 
speech  and  deed  is  the  only  step. 

1  Let  us  wipe  off  first  that  mark  which  Nature  always  puts  on  the  forehead  of  a  slave  -  the 
stain  of  jealousy.  Be  ready  to  lend  a  hand  to  every  worker  of  good.  Send  a  good  thought 
for  every  being  in  the  three  worlds  !' 

Swami  Vivekananda  gave  to  the  members  of  Alambazar  Math  '  Ten 
Commandments  on  Management '  of  which  one  stipulates: 

'  Tale-bearing,  caballing,  or  reporting  scandals  about  others 
should  be  altogether  eschewed.' 

Gossips  and  factions,  jealousies  and  heart-burning  continue  to  haunt  and 
tarnish  lives  of  musicians.  They  have  more  than  one  association.  Opportunities 
are  reportedly  cornered  by  an  oligarchy  in  the  fraternity.  Genuine  love  and 
dedication  to  good  causes  rarely  assert  themselves  before  demoralisation 
becomes  chronic  unless  the  'haves1  give  the  lead. 

Jealousy  is  at  once  intriguing  and  enchanting.  It  is  self-nourishing  and  makes 
no  demands.  It  accepts  no  defeat  and  failure  only  fuels.  Rare  virtues!  Bidaram 
Krishnappa,  who  was  forging  ahead  day  by  day,  became  the  victim  of 
treacherous  practices  resorted  to  by  the  jealous.  They  did  not  hesitate  even  to 
poison  him  !  Promising  his  mother  Saraswati  Bai  never  to  eat  or  drink  outside 
his  house,  he  did  not  accept  even  a  glass  of  milk.  Jealousy  and  suspicion 
touched  its  peak  soon.  Vasudevacharya  recounts  the  incident  of  Krishnappa 
offering  a  glass  of  milk  to  him  in  that  vitiated  atmosphere  : 

"  1  am  not  feeling  hungry, ' 

1  Well  Acharya,  I  can  quite  imagine  the  doubt  at  the  back  of  your  mind.  I  shall  take  half  of 
it  first  Ten  minutes  later,  if  you  are  convinced  of  my  integrity,  you  writ  drink  it,  1  suppose.1 

Both  of  us  were  in  tears. 

1  Acharya,  Do  not  trust  the  tale-carriers,  if  you  can  possibly  tear  open  my  heart,  you  may 
find  out  what  regard  1  have  for  you  ! ' 

After  that  no  misunderstanding  was  possible.  Our  hearts  beat  as  one." 


Jealousy,  mother  of  crimes,  had  vitiated  the  atmosphere  so  much  that  the 
above  incident  had  strangely  occurred  actually  following  a  friendly  dispute 
between  Vina  Seshanna  and  Bidaram  Krishnappa  as  to  who  should  garland 
Acharya  and  in  the  end  the  senior  and  guru  Seshanna  garlanded  first  and 
Krishnappa  garlanded  next!  This  provides  a  contrast  in  overt  and  covert  feelings 
and  dealings  engineered  by  jealousy  and  suspicion. 

A  contrast  can  be  gleaned  from  an  old  letter  of  M.B.  Srinivasan  to  Veena 
Maestro  Balachander  (in  the  album  of  the  latter): 

"  I  was  thrilled  to  read  your  letter,  doubly  because  an  'angel  of  music'  has  come  forward 
to  give  the  'devil'  its  due.  It  is  very  rare  for  even  an  ordinary  musician  to  recognise  talent 
in  another  musician.  Such  an  outburst  of  appreciation  from  you  only  proves  that  you  are 
not  only  a  great  musician  but  you  have  also  a  very  broad  heart  and  you  are  a  genuine 
human  being. " 

—  Srutiee. 


It  does  where  love  transcends  base  emotions.  Magnificent  art  can  annihilate 
germs  of  jealousy  even  in  an  enemy,  Semmangudi  Narayanaswami  Ayyar  and 
Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar  were  not  on  talking  terms.  Narayanaswami 
Ayyar  was  at  the  concert  of  the  latter  at  Tiruvaiyaru.  It  was  exhilarating  music. 
Overcome  by  emotion  and  forgetting  personal  estrangement,  Narayanaswami 
walked  to  the  vocalist  and  shedding  tears  embraced  him  and  said, 

1  What  great  music.  Your  Todl  was  a  veritable  Mohanastram  (Cupid's  arrow)! 
How  you  sang  and  how  delightfully  S! ' 

Narayanaswami  Ayyar  walked  back  wiping  his  tears  of  exultation  to  resume 
and  to  be  again  an  enemy  !  (Source:  Semmangudi  Dr.  Srinivasa  Ayyar) .  He  was 
a  true  artiste  and  his  capacious  heart  accepted  Art  enforcing  a  truce  for  the 
duration  of  the  concert;  Art  reigned  supreme. 

The  historic  contest  at  Trivandrum  in  the  presence  of  Maharajah  Ayilyam 
Tirunal  went  to  three  sessions;  the  Maharajah  ultimately  honoured  both  the 
contestants,  Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  and  Trivandrum  Raghava  Ayyar  (vide 
page  LIX  of  A  Garland).  Contest  over,  the  senior  Trivandrum  maestro  not  only 
praised  young  Vaidyanatha  and  said,  'Who  can  sing  like  you  ?'  but  expressed 
his  desire  to. assimilate  some  of  his  brika  styles  in  raga  Bhairavi  I  True  Art  can 
banish  base  emotions  and  even  ego! 

Not  only  that.  Maharajah  Ayilyam  Tirunal  laid  aside  royal  prestige  and  status 
and  sang  before  Vaidyanatha  to  secure  his  approbation;  and  expressed  his 
admiration  and  respect  to  young  Maha  saying  - 


'If  I  am  reborn,  I  wish  to  be  reborn  with  you  as  brother'. 

Here  Art  reigned  and  Royalty  allowed  itself  to  be  ruled  !  What  a  refinement  in 
humility  engendered  by  Art!  He  did  not  say,  1  wish  to  be  reborn  like  you*  but 
yields  primacy  to  the  artiste  !! 

*  Earth  has  not  anything  to  show  more  ennobling; 
Dull  would  he  be  of  soul  who  could  pass  by 
Incidents  so  touching  in  their  majesty. ' 

—  After  William  Wordsworth. 

Poet  Gray  comes  to  mind  for  his  epigram  The  path  of  glory  leads  but  to  the 
grave'.  Once,  jealousy  had  hijacked  a  musician  to  the  glory  and  throne  too! 
Vembattur  Picchu  Ayyar  was  a  delight  as  a  musician  and  his  knowledge  of  tamil 
was  profound.  Bhaskara  Sethupati,  Rajah  of  Ramnad  admired  and  patronised 
him.  Naturally  jealousy  has  a  just  cause  to  play  mischief,  On  an  important 
occasion,  when  all  the  chairs  in  the  Court  were  occupied,  one  of  the  jealous  sent 
word  to  Picchu  Ayyar.  Promptly  he  arrived,  saw  his  own  seat  occupied,  surveyed 
the  situation  in  a  split  second,  walked  up  and  sat  with  the  Rajah  on  the  broad 
royal  seat !  To  the  stunned  courtiers,  he  announced: 

1 1  was  called;  my  seat  too  had  been  occupied  when  I  came.  I  concluded 
that  the  Rajah  should  have  called  me  only  to  share  his  august  seat. ' 

A  smiling  Sethupati  declared: 

1  Till  now,  only  the  Maharajah  knew  what  you  are; 
now  the  Arasaravai  (Court)  also  knows  what  you  are! ' 

—  Source:  Eilarvi. 

*      * 

T.S.  Parthasarathy,  the  eminent  musicologist,  perusing  the  above,  has 
minuted  : 

*  Many  eyebrows  may  be  raised  at  this  chapter  but  there  is  no  gainsaying  the  fact 
that  mutual  envy  among  musicians  pollutes  the  atmosphere.  Rajagopalan  has 
recounted  a  few  incidents  in  which  musicians  got  reconciled  after  an  initial 
display  of  jealousy.  Professional  jealousy  has  gone  to  the  extent  of  a  father  cutting 
off  the  thumb  of  his  son  who  excelled  him  in  veena  play  (vide  page  401,  A  Garland). 
There  is  more  bonhomie  of  sorts  these  days  among  musicians  but  there  is  stiil 
room  for  their  pondering  over  Rajagopalan's  comments  on  the  problem  of 
"jealousy1*. ' 



3  hfadopasanaya  D'eva  Brahma  Vishnu  I 

Bhavantyupasita  minan  yesmadefiTtadatmak'ah      II 

(Devoted  practice  of  music,  worshipping  Nada  (Absolute  Sound)  as  the 
Parabrahman  is  indeed  tantamount  to  worshipping  the  supreme  deities  Brahma, 
Vi$hnu  and  Maheswara,  since  they  are  the  very  embodiment  of  Nada.) 

—  Sangita  Ratnakara  (JMAM). 

T-zhisaiyai,  Isaippayariai,  Innamudhai,  Ennudaiya  Thidzhariai* . 

(St.  Sundarar  describes  God  as  the  Swaroopa  of  the  Seven  Swaras  and  as  the 
benefit  of  music...)  Saint  Ramalinga  Swamigal  affirms  the  same  seeing  in  music 
the  acme  of  Divine  Presence. 

Swami  Dayananda  Saraswati*  recalled  the  same  on  April  1,  1991  at  the 
Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar  Trust  function  at  Madras  thus: 

1  Elegant  manodharma  brings  out  the  sou!  of  music  at  concerts.  Solemn  tranquility  reigns. 
The  enraptured  audience  loses  its  individual  and  collective  instincts  and  identities. 
Ego-centric  thoughts  disappear.  Sparingly,  an  involuntary  'aha'  or  an  'oho*  is  whispered. 
More  often,  the  collective  will  of  the  audience  lacks  the  energy  to  muster  strength  even 
to  air  its  appreciation.  Drenched  in  captivating  melody,  the  audience  stays  hypnotised, 
drowned  in  the  ocean  of  classical  music  surrendering  heart  and  soul  so  deep  that  it 
manages  to  mutter  just  a  tsou',  'tsou1,  Heart-beats  synchronise  with  the  tala.  Minds 
strike  total  rapport  with  bhava  and  rasa  and  there  is  total  identity  and  integration  of  minds, 
hearts  and  souls. 

That  spell  marks  the  universal  identity  of  the  audience  with  'Nada';  it  is  'Nadopasana*  in 
essence.  It  is  transcendental  bliss  -  losing  oneself  and  getting  dissolved  in  chaste, 
divine  music.  It  is  Nada  loludai  Brahmananda'(Kalyana  Vasantam).  That  is  the  over- 
whelming message  of  classical  music  pure  and  simple  which  neither  neo-classical  nor 
light  music  can  hope  to  bestow. ' 

To  those  who  desire  corroboration  or  confirmation  from  Western  authorities, 
of  this  Advaitic  'A/adopasana'  as  means  to  attain  Transcendental  Bliss  or  see 
Divine  Light,  here  they  are  as  inscribed  by  Paul  Brunton: 

'  Who  can  respond  to  the  genius  of  Bach's  Saint  Mathew  Passion 
unless  some  awakening  of  spirituality  is  in  him  ?  ' 

1  Bach  -  the  final  chorus  from  St.  Mathew  Passion, 
Beethoven's  last  piano  trio  ( Archduke),  and 

Note:  *  A  word  abojsit  the  Swamiji's  golden  heart.  His  laughter  is  contagious.  It  should  seem  he  had 
been  in  a  Kumour  for  jocularity  and  merriment;  and  upon  such  occasions  I  never  knew  a  man 
laugh  more  remarkable  in  any  circumstance  in  his  manner.'  -  (Boswell) 


The  slow  movement  from  Mozart's  G.  Major  Viol  in  Concerto,  K.21 6  - 
,  These  three  are  spiritually  inspired  musical  works. ' 

'  Walter  Allen  says  he  got,  at  the  age  of  fifty,  the  mystic  experience  of 
timelessness,  saw  the  Divine  Light  in  Vision  and  felt  one  with  God 
while  listening  rapt  in  Beethoven's  Seventh  Symphony.  ' 

Brahms  himself  said, 

1  When  I  reach  my  best  level  during  the  task  of  composition, 
I  feel  a  higher  power  working  through  me.1 

Paul-Brunton  provides  his  seal  of  finality  when  he  declares: 

Handel's  Messiah  is  as  inspired  a  piece  of  music  as  any  ever  written.  It  is  a 
communication  from  Heaven  to  earth,  from  the  Gods  to  man,  Handel  sat  for  three  days 
motionless.  Then  out  of  this  physical  and  inner  stillness  there  came  to  him  the 
tremendously  inspired,  triumphantly  majestic  strains  of  the  Messiah.' 

These  firm  indications  should  set  at  rest  vacillating  souls  in  believing  that  of 
all  arts,  'music  is  not  only  the  loftiest  and  that  its  mysterious  power  speaks  a 
language  which  is  universally  acknowledged,  but  it  is  motivated  to  express 
glimpses  which  Shelly  called  - 


Visitations  of  Divinity?  Here  is  a  specimen  proof.  Ludwig  Van  Beethoven 
(1770  -  1827)  told  a  violinist  who  complained  that  a  passage  of  his  was 

'  When  I  composed  that,  I  was  conscious  of  being  inspired  by  God  Almighty. 
Do  you  think  I  can  consider  your  puny  little  fiddle  when  He  speaks  to  me  ?  ' 


The  above  leads  to  the  issue  whether  such  music  is  normally  made  available 
and  whether  such  compositions  continue  to  fill  the  Reservoir  of  Lofty  Melody. 
The  answer  is  generally  believed  to  be  'No1.  Robin  Daniels  wrote  in  his 
Conversations  with  Neville  Cardus': 

'Music,  the  rich  man's  pleasure  and  the  poor  man's  food 
must  be  related  to  the  smells  and  the  tastes  of  life1. 

Musicians  point  to  the  ordinary  man's  level  of  participation  and  appreciation; 
and  this  'ordinary  man1  would  seem  to  be  at  the  receiving  end  not  only  for 
politicians  but  for  musicians  too!  The  smells  and  the  tastes'  would  seem  to  be 
deteriorating  and  demoralising  progressively.  It  is  the  common  view  that 
present-day  compositions  are  poor  in  conception,  content,  message  and  musical 
appeal.  Neville  Cardus  said: 


1  The  strange  thing  is  that  it  is  the  oldest  music  which  sounds  the  youngest  today 

You  know  the  air  is  fresh  very  early  in  the  morning.  When  there  is  dew  on  the  grass  and 
everything  smells  new  and  clean.  The  oldest  music  is  like  that.  ' 

Martin  Pacey  has  very  poor  opinion  of  the  present  and  says; 

'  The  emotional  and  spiritual  aridity,  the  absence  of  vitality  and  warmth 
is  the  worst  aspect  of  contemporary  compositions.  ' 

Of  course,  it  may  be  the  condition  in  the  West.  Let  Lata  Mangeshkar  speak 
for  Indian  conditions  in  this  sphere; 

'Believe  me  when  I  say  that  there  is  no  demand  from  the  audience  abroad  for  me  to  sing 
any  of  the  present-day  tunes.  I  enjoy  sieging  yester  year  composers.  And  my  enjoyment 
is  doubled  when  I  divine  that  this  is  what  my  audience  too  want...  Today's  composers 
concentrate  on  anything  but  their  work...  (they)  fail  to  create  tunes  really  worthwhile.' 

The  position  is  not  different  either  in  the  sphere  of  Carnatic  music. 

1  The  quest  for  depth  is  just  not  there.  Superfluous  entertainment  is  today's  menu.  It 
is  a  pity  that  instead  of  delving  deeper,  we  are  concentrating  on  the  frills  which  are 
evanescent  and  offer  nothing  more  than  a  short-lived  thrill.  ' 

This  is  the  view  of  top  violinist  M.S.  Gopalakrishnan  who  hails  from  a  musical 
family  and  who  has  a  rich  experience  of  Indian  and  Western  conditions.  The  cry 
and  need  of  the  hour  then  is  obviously  to  reorient  our  conceptions,  attitudes, 
aspirations  and  programmes  to  restore  Wacfopasana'  to  its  pristine  glory  and 
resuscitate  our  rich  legacy  and  giory  by  actively  involving  the  'ordinary  man1  in 
cities  and  villages  as  classical  music  has  fast  been  withdrawing  itself  into  an 
oligarchic  shell  which  indeed  is  a  curse! 


There  is  an  'Indian  Federation  Against  Software  Theft"  (INFAST)  to  combat  piracy. 
Tiger  Varadachariar  used  to  cut  jokes  that  Vasudevacharya  and  M,D.  Ramanathan  had 
stolen  his  talents  and  knowledge.  Madurai  Mani  Ayyar's  style  is  beautifully  brought  to 
focus  by  T.V.  Sankaranarayanan.  Likewise  the  styles  of  G.N.B.,  etc.  are  projected  by 
many.  'Touch  Todi  raga,  there  is  an  element  of  T.N.  Rajarathinam's  style;  touch 
Nilambari,  hah!  there  is  the  touch  of  S.G.  Kittappa;  Mukhari  or  Anandabhairavft 
Musiri's  style  is  on  the  fringe.  These  are  treated  not  as  piracy  but  as  merit,  attainment 
and  a  gift!  Art  confers  that  liberty!!  The  Lord  has  sanctioned  it: 

"  Whatever  a  great  man  does, 
that  other  men  also  do'  (imitate); 
Whatever  he  sets  up  as  the  standard, 
that  the  world  follows." 




Historic  contests  between  Classical  Musicians  of  Eminence. 

Chapter  X  of  'A  Garland  provides  an  account  of  important  contests  and 
challenges  in  the  annals  of  Carnatic  music.  Since  such  contests  have  a  close 
and  interesting  bearing  and  revelation  on  men,  matters  and  condit.ons  in  the 
past,  a  few  more  are  brought  to  view  here. 


Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  &  Kalyanakrishna  Bhagavatar 

Maharajah  Ayilyam  Tirunal  was  not  only  a  patron  and  connoisseur  but  was 
a  musician  of  repute  himself.  In  tune  with  the  proverbial  'approval  from  the  mouth 
of  Sage  Vasishta1,  he  wanted  to  have  his  musical  attainments  and  talents 
screened  by  Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  during  his  visit.  The  Maharajah  sang 
elaborating  'Usenf  raga  for  forty-five  minutes.  Captivated  by  the  brilliance  and 
maturity  of  the  rendition,  Ayyar  observed: 

'Thank  God.  He  has  made  you  a  king.  Were  it  not  so, 
we  might  not  have  had  an  occasion  to  touch  the  drone' 

This  cultured  ruler  wanted  to  enjoy  a  vocal-veena  'friendly'  contest  between 

Ayyar,  famous  for  his  vibrant  gamaka-laden  voice  and  his  Court  artiste  Veena 

Kalyanakrishna  Bhagavatar,  who  enjoyed  immense  expertise  by  virtue  of 

rigorous  training.  Expertise  and  mastery  were  a  gift  to  Ayyar  but  an  acquisition 

to  Bhagavatar,  famous  for  his  'origai'  gamakas.  His  veena  play  resembled  vocal 

rendition.  The  vocal-veena  contest  commenced  very  well.  Taking  up  Todi  raga, 

Ayyar  flashed  through  and  shot  up  from  Mandhra  sthayi  Shadja  to  Atitara  sthayi 

Shadja  like  a  fired  jet  and  called  halt  after  a  hurricane  rendition.  Bhagavatar 

lacked  the  fire  of  that  tempo  and  the  lure  of  the  conjuring  voice.  His  heart  sank; 

and  sank  as  only  that  of  a  senior,  eminent,  noble  artiste  was  capable  of.  His 

reputation  too  was  at  stake.  The  understanding  musician-ruler  (even  as  saint 

Sambandar  consoled  Tiruneelakantar  when  the  latter  was  not  able  to  reproduce 

on  yazh  his  vocal  rendition)  stepped  in  to  soothe  Bhagavatar's  feelings  saying 

that  Ayyar's  music  was  vocal  and  veena  was  not  designed  to  play  so  fast  by 

changing  from  mandra  to  panchama  and  then  to  sarani  strings.  Ayyar  also 

comforted  him  saying  that  it  was  only  'an  exhibition  match'  and  that  he  had  all 

respect  for  his  mature  rendition  and  knowledge.  Bhagavatar  came  to  his 

elements  and  played  on.  Was  it  the  forerunner  to  modern  jugalbandis? 



Peria  Vaithi's  Challenge 

Peria  Vaithi  and  Chinna  Vaithi  were  an  acknowledged  prominent  duo  when 
Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  appeared  on  the  horizon  and  made  his  triumphal  entry. 
The  brothers  hailed  from  Radhamangalam  and  were  Court  musicians  at 
Sivaganga.  Peria  Vaithi  once  wenttoTravancoreto  exhibit  his  musical  expertise 
and  solve  his  economic  plight.  As  was  the  custom  at  Travancore  for  all  artistes, 
he  got  accommodation  and  food  adequately.  As  he  could  not  get  an  audience, 
he  lost  his  mental  poise  and  started  singing  in  'Bhoopalam*  at  midnight  in 
desperation  to  contain  and  annihilate  mental  agony  and  prepare  to  return  home. 
The  classical  rendition  of  the  dawn  raga  in  the  still  hours  of  the  midnight 
fascinated  the  musically-sensitive  ears  of  Ayilyam  Tirunal  Maharajah.  Enquiries 
revealed  that  as  the  artiste  had  become  an  addict  to  'drinking',  he  was  not  'listed' 
for  audience.  The  ruler  condoned  the  fault  and  heard  him  that  day.  Exhilarant 
music  full  of  bhava  cascaded  from  the  emotionally  aggrieved  Peria  Vaithi  who 
enjoyed  a  resonant  powerful  voice  which  could  negotiate  31/2  octaves  in  three 
tempos.  Dramatically  he  stopped  and  requested  permission  to  take  'the  drink1. 
The  Ruler  and  the  Court  were  stunned  by  the  insulting  indecorous  behaviour.- 
The  Ruler's  benevolent  heart,  however,  condoned  it  and  permitted  the 
unseemly  act  too!  The  artiste  violated  the  sanctity  of  the  Court  and  Royal 
presence  but  what  followed  was  thrilling  rendition  -  a  quid  pro  quo,  a 

Suddenly  he  stopped  again  and  challenged  all  and  everyone  to  sing  like  him. 
The  ruler  magnanimously  persuaded  him  to  resume.  The  interludes  only  helped 
to  whip  up  the  classical  nerves  and  verves  of  Vaithi's  music.  And  when  it  ended, 
the  misbehaviour  and  atrocious  acts  were  graciously  forgotten.  Ayilyam  Tirunal 
not  only  exhibited  his  munificence  in  gifts  but  revealed  his  royal  stoic 
magnanimity  telling  Vaithi  that  the  palace  gates  were  open  to  him  again! 

( Source:  VS,  Gomatisankara  Ayyar  in  'Isaikalai  Vallunarkal') 


Maha  v.  Venu 

Bobbili  Kesavayya,  Kundrakudi  Krishna  Ayyar  and  Venugopala  Dasa  Naidu 
belonged  to  a  category  of  musicians  who  combined  capability  and  fame  with 
aggressive  egocentricity.  Venugopala  Dasa  assumed  striking  titles  like  'Sura 
Veera,  Veerasura,  Kantamani'  indicating  arresting  rendition  and  expertise  in 
swara,  raga,  tanam  and  pallavi.  The  title  'Kantamani1  was  earned  by  passing  a 
test  at  Sivaganga  successfully.  He  kept  an  elaborate  retinue,  an  arresting 
paraphernalia.  Very  popular  and  a  crowd-puller,  he  travelled  in  a  two 


horse-drawn  phaeton.  Admirers  fuelled  his  craze  for  fame  and  animosity  against 
excellence  in  others.  Shatkalapidi  Photo  Masilamani  and  friends  collected 
Rs.two  thousand  (a  century  and  half  ago;  money-value  is  relevant)  as  stake  and 
Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  was  challenged.  Venue  was  Fiddle  Ramayya's  house 
near  Snuff  Shanmugham's  house  at  Madras.  Venugopala  had  sharpened  his 
specialisation  in  major  ragas  to  knock  out  Ayyar.  But  Fiddle  Venkoba  Rao 
sensing  it  tactically  forced  Ayyar,  by  leading  rendition,  to  take  up 
'Narayanagoula*.  Venugopala  was  floored  and  Photo  Masilamani  had  to  declare 
Ayyar  victor.  It  is  stated  that  Ayyar's  brother,  Ramaswami  Sivan  whispered  to 
his  brother  in  'Pandava  Basha}  clear  only  to  them  both,  thus: 

'Kapibhakshappis  Kama  apagesuthis 
YantHb  ehayan  ashahithp  vandhatabhaayiha 
Konvasha  vasha  yanttio  nooh  ankisan 
Hitho  Kisaimishoopaz 
Konvashavashathassahiru  chipaz.' 

V.S,  Gomatisankara  Ayyar  says  that  this  meant : 

1  lake  Adi  Tala,  anaghata  eduppu. 
Sambho  Siva  Sankara  Vibho,  etc.  ' 

The  mutual  admiration,  respect  and  love  between  the  Ayyar  brothers  are 
proverbial.  Venu's  carefully  drawn  up  and  elaborately  arranged-for  scheme 
crumbled  and  collapsed  like  a  house  of  cards  and  the  prize-presentation  was 
made  with  Venu  disappearing  from  the  scene  !  (Such  absence  is  misconduct 
perhaps  only  in  tennis  !  Here  is  a  parallel  from  sports,  The  legendary  Indian 
wrestler  Gama  took  on  Stanislaus  Zbyszko,  the  Polish  reigning  world  champion 
on  December  12,  1910.  Gama  looked  ordinary  in  the  presence  of  the  tall, 
impressive  Pole.  Gama  was  dominant  but  two  hours  40  minutes'  play  ended  in 
a  draw.  At  the  appointed  time  on  the  next  day,  the  Pole  was  nowhere  to  be 
seen.  Gama  was  declared  the  Champion  and  the  world  learnt  to  acknowledge 
his  invincibility.  Later,  on  January  28,  1920,  Gama  prostrated  Zbyszko  in  just 
21  seconds  at  Patiala!) 


Pallavi  Subbiah  Bhagavatar  v.  Tirumalai  Ayyangar 

Subbiah  Bhagavatar  hailed  from  Vasudevanallur  near  Sankarankoil  and  had 
training  under  Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  for  seven  years.  Very  competent  in 
giving  concerts  rich  in  neraval  and  an  expert  in  pallavi  rendition  and  swara,  he 
was  very  popular  and  was  supported  by  zamindars.  Gomatisankara  Ayyar  is  his 
son.  Bhagavatar  stopped  giving  concerts  at  the  age  of  thirty-five  and  spent  his 
time  in  training  disciples.  An  expert  laya  vidwan,  once  he  demonstrated  before 
the  Karaikudi  Veena  Brothers  Sankarabharana  elaborately  for  a  hundred  and 


fifty  minutes  with  his  '/ca/pa/ia'  (improvised)  taia  comprising  Eka  taia  in  the  first 
part  with  16  matras,  Jampai  in  the  second  with  ten  matras,  Rupaka  in  the  third 
with  twelve  and  Chapu  in  the  fourth  with  fourteen  totalling  fifty-two  for  an 
avartha.  To  the  astounded  Brothers,  he  stated  that  it  could  be  called  'Brahma' 
taia.  He  enjoyed  a  ringing  tone  and  a  captivating  style. 

Tirumalai  Ayyangar  of  Anmarai  Nadu  near  Srivilliputtur  was  a  disciple  of 
Poochi  Srinivasa  Ayyangar.  Had  a  mellifluous  voice,  was  held  in  esteem  and 
was  very  popular  in  the  South  for  his  eminence  in  raga,  tana  and  pallavi 

People  of  the  area  developed  a  passion  to  see  the  two  distinguished  men  of 
the  area  together  in  a  concert  displaying  their  skill  in  a  'friendly  contest'  and 
arranged  for  it.  Tirumalai  started  with  his  composition  'Aazh  Kadalin'  in  Todi with 
Misra  Triputa  taia.  Bhagavatar  wondered  why  he  chose  that  taia  as  it  might  not 
be  conducive  to  full-  scale  pallavi.  The  sahitya  (text)  also  was  word-intensive. 
However  he  responded.  Tirunelveli  Syamala  Bhagavatar  was  on  violin  and 
Tirunelveli  Gomati  was  on  mridangam.  The  contest  was  continued  on  the  second 
day.  Bhagavatar  started  with  Bhairavi  Thvijam-Kanda  Chappu  Misra  Chapu 
combination  on  sahitya  'Koodara  Girilolan*.  Tirumalai  got  confused  in  his 
rendition  due  to  the  devilrous  combination  of  five  and  seven  taia  aksharas 
alternating.  He  regretted  the  indulgence  he  had  taken  on  the  first  day  and 
apologised  to  Bhagavatar  for  his  avoidable  innovations  > 


Mysore  Kuppiah  v.  The  Jeafous  Ensemble 

Mysore  Kuppiah  and  Appaiah,  ancestors  of  Seshannaand  Subbanna,  could 
not  get  admittance  to  the  Tanjore  Court  and  stooped  to  secure  it.  They  enrolled 
themselves  as  pupils  under  Chinnavelu  and  Periavelu,  Court  musicians.  After 
sometime,  when  the  ruler  saw  them  with  the  teachers  and  enquired,  they 
revealed  their  identity  and  intent.  The  ruler  retained  them  both  with  him.  Four 
senior  musicians,  enraged  at  this,  composed  a  varna  in  Ata  taia  each  composing 
one  avarta.  Kuppiah  got  scent  of  it  and  got  the  varna  secretly  notated  in  full. 
Unaware  of  this,  the  quartette  challenged  Kuppiah  Brothers  when  the  ruler 
summoned  a  special  durbar  to  honour  Kuppiah.  They  pleaded  that  the  Brothers 
were  cheats  and  that  their  depth  of  learning  should  be  tested.  They  played  the 
varna  thrice  and  pompously  demanded  of  Kuppiah  to  play  the  same  varna  in 
trikala.  Kuppiah  took  his  vina,  started  with  the  trikala  as  the  basic  kala  and  played 
at  treble  that  tempo  too.  He  played  on  till  midnight  too.  Mysore  Vasudevacharya 
says  that  the  ruler  performed  kanakabhisheka,  presented  him  with  a  silver  veena 
inlaid  with  pearls  and  granted  Kabisthalam  as  Jagir! 


A  brief  war  of  wits  with  a  swarakshara  pallavi  ensued.  Overwhelmed  .by  the 
gesture  of  the  ruler,  Kuppiah  composed  instantaneously  a  paliavi  in  Mohana 
raga  'Paga  icchara  Sariga*  meaning  Is  it  right  that  the  ruler  should  present  a 
zari  turban  of  honour?'  The  connoisseur-artist  in  the  ruler  countered  it  in  soft 
notes,  lSada  Paga  icchane\  meaning  that  it  was  only  an  ordinary  turban.  The 
notes  pa,  ga,  sa,  ri,  ga,  sa,  da,  pa  and  ga  are  all  brought  in.  (Swarakshara  edhir 
pallavi  is  related  in  Mohanam  Krishnier's  life  too,  A  Swarasthana  Varnam  of 
Muthuswami  Dikshitar  finds  place  in  part  III  -  E.) 


Rising  sun  saves  the  honour  of  court 

Sivaratri  was  celebrated  with  a  music  festival  at  the  palace  with  the  fasting 
Maharajah  Krishnaraja  Wodeyar  presiding  over  it.  Pallavi  used  to  be  the  tool  of 
contest.  A  senior  visiting  vidwan  first  sang  a  pallavi.  The  Court  vidwans  could 
not  meet  the  challenge  and  their  response  was  hesitant,  The  Maharajah  gave 
expressssion  to  his  anguish  and  pain  stating  that  the  competition  had  brought 
disgrace  to  Mysore  instead  of  prestige,  entertainment  and  enlightenment. 
Chikkarama  rose  up  and  said  that  his  son  Seshanna  would  give  a  proper 
response.  The  precocious  boy  gave  a  scintillating  pallavi  remarkably  well  and 
took  everybody  by  surprise. 

Wodeyar  took  him  on  his  lap  and  said,  'Guard  this  precious  jewel.  I  am  sure 
he  will  earn  our  State  ever-lasting  fame.  But  you  should  not  have  exposed  him 
today  like  this1.  To  ward  off  evil-eye,  Vasudevachar  mentions  that  the  ruler 
himself  arranged  for  idugavy  and  presented  him  with  a  necklace  and  shawl. 
Seshanna  rose  to  the  top  and  was  a  powerful  musician  in  the  Mysore  Court. 


The  ruler's  advice  'Guard  this  precious  jewel1  brings  to  mind  an  incident  in 
Subramania  Bharati's  life.  During  his  visit  to  Madras,  Gandhiji  was  having  a 
discussion  with  Rajaji  and  others.  Bharati  rushed  in  like  a  dart  straight  and 

'Mr.  Gandhi,  can  you  come  up  for  a  meeting?' 

A  startled  Gandhiji  stared  at  Rajaji,  politely  declined  on  ground  of  want  of 
time;  and  when  Bharati  had  left,  as  brusquely  as  he  entered,  told  Rajaji  - 

Take  care  of  this  gem'. 

Quite  strangely,  the  revolutionary  gem  of  Ettayapuram  lived  for  just  38 
years  and  the  musical  gem  of  princely  Mysore  for  double  that  -  76  long 



Bidaram  Krishnappa  v.  The  Malignant 

Bidaram  Krishnappa  was  riding  at  the  crest  of  his  glory.  At  Bangalore  he  was 
deservedly  honoured.  There  was  immediate  jealous  reaction  and  heart-burning. 
An  assembly  of  vidwans  and  public  was  convened  at  Mysore  which  included  a 
well-known  South  Indian  musician  according  to  Mysore  Vasudevachar  whof 
recounts  the  incident.  Bidaram's  guru  Seshanna  spoke: 

'Krishnappa,  it  appears  that  the  people  at  Bangalore  have  proclaimed  you  a  Mahavidwan. 
It  is  left  only  to  vidwans  like  us  to  confer  such  a  distinction.  You  are  required  to  sing 
before  us  now  in  this  distinguished  assembly  and  earn  the  distinction.' 

The  South-Indian  vidwan  (name  not  mentioned  by  Acharya)  sang  a  six 
aksharakala  pallavi  he  had  practised  for  six  long  months  and  challenged 
Krishnappa  to  sing  a  few  avartanas  of  nerava!  and  swaras.  Burning  with  rage, 
Krishnappa  told  his  guru, 

'Guruji,  all  that  I  have  is  due  to  your  kind  blessings.  I  shall  obey  your  command  and  accept 
'  the  challenge,  but  on  condition  that  immediately  I  do  it,  I  shall  frame  a  pallavi  here  and 
now  and  this  vidwan  should  respond1. 

With  that  Damocles'  sword  of  'edhir  pallavi  '  promised,  he  went  through  the 
pallavi  with  merit  and  distinction  and  asked,  'Now,  what  about  my  challenge?' 

Seshanna  embraced  his  disciple  and  said  with  emotion: 

'Krishnappa,  really  you  are  a  Gana  Kesari  (Lion  in  Music ).  I  made  you  sing 
only  to  prove  your  worth  to  those  who  were  talking  behind  your  back'. 

This  should  have  drawn  the  curtain  on  the  challenge.  Deep-rooted  jealousy 
lacks  capacity  to  wind  up  but  fuels  endless  encounters.  The  jealous  vidwan  took 
advantage  of  the  conferment  of  the  title  'Gayakasikhamani1  on  Krishnappa 
sometime  later  by  the  Head  of  Tiruvidaimarudur  Mutt  and  issued  a  notice  of 
challenge  from  his  address  -  No.  136,  Mint  Street,  Madras  under  date  June,  7 
1905  with  copies  to  the  Mysore  Maharaja  and  the  Mutt  Head  too.  Promptly  on 
June  12, 1905  Krishnappa  replied  to  him  that  knowledge  is  immeasurable,  that 
titles  are  not  won  after  undergoing  tests  at  vidwat  sadas  or  sabhas,  that  Mysore 
people  were  at  a  loss  to  recognise  the  notice-giver  even  as  a  vidwan  as  he 
himself  had  been  present  at  the  concert  at  Tiruvidaimarudur  and  had  not  chosen 
to  raise  any  objection  then  and  that  it  was  regrettable  that  he  had  not  taken  a 
lesson  from  the  earlier  encounter.  Presumably,  the  jealous  energy  and  fire  had 
evaporated  on  receipt  of  the  retort.  There  was  no  response. 



Friendly  Challenges 


As  a  contrast,  it  is  but  proper  and  legitimate  to  record  a  few  friendly 
challenges.  There  was  a  Sangita  Sammelan  at  Tanjore.  Narayanaswami 
Nayakar  was  a  scholar,  connoisseur  and  patron  of  musicians.  There  assembled 
at  his  house  the  cream  of  visiting  musicians  of  the  day  like  Maha  Vaidyanatha 
Ayyar,  Tirukkodikaval  Krishna  Ayyar,  Veena  Seshanna,  Ghananrs  Raghaviah, 
Sarabha  Sastri  and  Srivilliputtur  Muthiah  Bhagavatar.  Anxious  to  enjoy  their 
competitive  music,  Nayakar  displayed  a  diamond  ring  to  be  presented  to  the 
'best  musician  of  the  day'.  Probably  selecting  the  'Man  of  the  Match5  in  cricket 
derived  inspiration  from  such  episodes! 

Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  started  the  rendition  and  others  followed.  But  who  was 
to  get  the  prize  and  who  was  to  decide  it?  Nayakar  left  it  to  the  vidwans  as  he 
did  not  desire  to  lose  the  feast  by  acting  as  a  judge.  Better  to  enjoy  as  a  rasika 
than  sweat  as  an  actor!  There  were  some  tense  moments  of  suspense.  Finally 
Muthiah  Bhagavatar  stumped  and  foreclosed  the  issue  declaring  that  the  hero 
of  the  day  was  Seshanna.  Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  seconded  it.  Seshanna 
accepted  it  modestly  saying,  1  accept  this  as  a  blessing  from  elders'.  The  titans 
of  Tamil  Nadu  elected  the  budding  artiste  from  Karnataka!  Art  has  no  barriers!! 
Art  integrates. 


Once  the  Maharajah  of  Travancore  wanted  to  hear  his  palace  vidwan  Veena 
Kalyanakrishna  Bhagavatar  and  Vina  Seshanna  at  one  sitting.  Bhagavatar 
played  first  for  two  hours  and  then  Seshanna  responded.  As  it  happened  at  the 
contest  of  Maha  Vaidyanatha  -  Haripad  Raghava  Ayyar  contest,  the  ruler 
presented  them  with  similar  honours.  But  the  learned  Bhagavatar  rose  up  and 

'  May  I  confess  that  Sharada  Devi  has  blessed  Seshanna  with  all  that  is  sweet  in  veena 
and  she  was  left  only  with  the  remnant  to  b!ess  me  with !  I  have  never  before  heard  such 
an  exquisite  performance  and  i  doubt  whether  I  would  hear  another  such  again.' 

Jealousy  is  a  stranger  at  assemblages  where  nobility  and  pure  devotion  to 
art  compete!  Has  not  Bhagavatar  crowned  himself  with  glory  by  the  noble 
sentiments  he  gave  expression  to? 



Sana's  wife  v.  Eelam  Belle 

Males  have  monopolised  the  listed  contests  so  far.  Here  is  one  from  the 
'Tiruvilayadal  Puranani  to  'fill  up  seats  reserved  for  women'.  Let  this  be  a 
women's  ©vent  as  such  a  contest  does  not  appear  to  have  been  held  elsewhere. 

The  belle  amie  of  Rajaraja  Pandian  of  Madurai  was  burning  (quite  naturally) 
with  a  desire  to  put  to  disgrace  Banabhadrafs  wife,  a  scholarly  poetess.  Carried 
away  by  the  coquetry  of  his  lady  (presumably  a  pretty  woman-deaux  yeux), 
Pandian  requisitioned  a  competent  lady-musician  from  Eelam,  Sri  Lanka.  At  the 
contest,  Sana's  wife  excelled  but  the  King's  decision  followed  the  nod  of  his 
lady-love.  The  loyal  courtiers  religiously  nodded  'yes' to  what  the  puppet  Pandian 
said.  The  second  contest  went  the  way  the  first  did.  Sana's  wife  was  aghast  and 
challenged  the  ruler  to  hold  the  third  and  final  contest  at  the  temple.  Once  within 
the  temple,  native  wisdom,  spiritual  freedom  and  severance  from  lust  restored 
sanity.  Once  sanity  had  asserted  itself,  the  decision  rightly  went  in  favour  of 
Banabhadra's  wife.  Generosity  dictated  honouring  both  since  Pandian  was 
promoter  and  accomplice  to  the  drama. 

The  anecdote  however  reveals  - 

i.  Antiquity  of  musical  contests; 

ii.  Impartiality  within  the  precincts  of  a  holy  place: 

(surely  the  courtiers  should  have  continued  to  nod  Yes,  Your  Majesty');  and 
iii.  Distinction  of  women  in  music. 

In  fact,  on  the  first  day,  the  Eelam  artiste  shoots  many  questions  on 
musicology  revealing  the  depth  of  her  immense  knowledge  in  theory  too,  (One 
should  thank  Pandian  for  not  awarding  the  contest  to  the  Eelam  belle  on  the  plea 
of  having  won  two  games  to  one  !) 


Music  Unites  and  Estranges  too 

The  last  one  is  from  a  Purana.  Now  follows  one  from  the  fascinating  tamil 
epic  the  marvellous  Qilappadikaram  of  Illango,  which  is  a  mixed  event  where 
two  lovers  are  caught  up  in  the  cobwebs  or  quagmire  of  unintended  antagonism 
in  trying  to  outplay  each  other. 

Venue:    Poompuhar Sea-shore.       Time    :     I ndra  Festival. 

After  taking  part  in  the  festival,  Kovalan  and  his  sweet-heart  Madhavi,  a 
damsel  of  bewitching,  ravishing  beauty  and  danseuse,  repair  to  a  shady  place 
nearby.  Madhavi  takes  the  yazh,  runs  her  nimble  fingers  on  the  kodu,  the  dandi, 


checks  up  the  tone  and  looks  up  with  her  native  coquetry  to  know  her  lover's 
pleasure  and  preference,  Kovalan  missing  the  hint  takes  over  the  yazh  and  with 
it  the  hidden  hand  of  Fate  and  plays  to  'please'  her  and  incidentally  to  seal  their 
separation.  'His  tonic  "Kura/"was  the  open  note  of  the  yazh.  Madhavi  mistakes 
the  fifth  "////"  as  the  fundamental  suggesting  a  discordant  note  !  Jealousy  leads 
to  ire  and  confrontation  takes  over  control.  She  takes  back  the  yazh  with  a  shade 
of  vilely  smile  but  to  hit  back;  and  plays.  'Her  voice  followed  the  humming  guts 
like  the  shadow  that  trails  closely  along  as  the  eagle  flies  aloft.  Her  troubled  mind 
decoyed  her  into  an  unmelodic  scale.'  Burning  with  intense  jealousy  and  torn  by 
baseless  suspicion,  for  the  first  time  Kovalan's  mind  travels  far  and  dwells  on 
his  forelorn  chaste  wife  whom  he  discarded  and  deserted  unceremoniously  at 
the  very  hour  the  wedding  bells  sounded.  The  finest  epic  proceeds  with  Kovalan, 
now  in  utter  penury,  leaving  with  his  devout  wife  to  Madurai  to  meet  the  Grecian 
tragic  fate.  The  innocent  man  is  falsely  charged  with  theft  and  is  given  capital 
punishment  AH  because  of  music  !  A  head  for  a  false  note? 


Nannu  Miya  v.  Pallavi  Somu  Ayyar 

The  above  incidents  revolve  around  vocalists  and  instrumentalists.  The 
series  is  brought  to  a  close  with  the  challenge  of  a  percussionist  extended  to  a 
pallavi  supremo.  Nannu  Miya  and  Chotu  Miya  were  Samasthanam  artistes  of 
the  erstwhile  Pudukottai  State.  Nannu  was  a  gifted  player  on  dolak  and  his 
'Pararf  displays  were  fascinating.  Spurred  by  his  attainments,  he  challenged 
musicians  to  match  his  accompaniment  and  score  over  him.  Some  sulked;  some 
sneaked  away;  some  advised  him  that  Pallavi  Somu  Ayyar  was  his  peer.  To 
establish  his  mettle,  Nannu  repaired  to  Talajnayar  near  Tiruthuraipoondi  and 
hurled  his  challenge.  Though  taken  unawares,  the  pallavi  expert  accepted  it.  He 
composed  a  special  pallavi  for  the  contest  in  raga  Saveri  thus: 

'Gin-rani  palukuna  Nandi  mridangamaina.1 

(It  is  not  possible  to  produce  the  sound  effect  GRRR  even 
if  the  mridangam  used  happens  to  be  that  of  Nandikeswara.) 

Traversing  a  classic  alapana,  Ayyar  commenced  the  pallavi  exposition.  The 
deliberate  sarcastic  sahitya  (text)  which  gets  repeated  endlessly  held  out  a 
psychological  unnerving  portent  for  the  percussionist  even  as  Maharaja  Sallian's 
derisive,  scathing  comparisons  with  Arjuna  had  on  the  indomitable  Kama  on  the 
battle  field  of  Kurukshetra  in  Mahabharata.  The  GRRR  sound  could  not  be  aptly 
brought  out  on  dolak.  Nannu  licked  the  dust.  (Pallavi  is  a  challenge  to 
percussionists  even  normally  since  the  pallavi  vidwan  holds  the  commanding 
rein  and  dictates  the  trends  and  is  rarely  dictated  to.  When  two  discordant 

»/M  ilrl 


Differences  did  crop  up  at  a  concert  and  they  never  shared  a  dais  thereafter.  It 
was  parting  of  the  ways.  Pallavi  is  now  following  the  path  taken  by  gurukulavasa 
and  quite  soon  might  qualify  for  an  elegy!) 

Note:  Dr,  R.  Kalaikovan  writes  that  there  is  a  very  beautiful  and  rare  sculpture  of  a  music 
competition  between  a  male  artiste  and  a  female  artiste  relating  to  the  Sangam  Age  at 
the  temple  of  Nalthunai  Ishwarar  in  Ponsai  village.  The  sculpture  is  of  pre-Rajaraja  Chola 
period.  Vide  notes  under  the  chapter  Tamil  Isai'. 



The  proverb  runs, 

'Destiny  leads  the  willing; 
but  drags  the  unwilling/ 

The  biographical  notes  on  Harikesanallur  Muthiah  Bhagavatar,  Mysore 
T.  Chowdiah,  Dr,  U.Ve.  Swaminatha  Ayyar  and  others  reveal  how  true  the  proverb  is. 
Raja  Ravi  Varma,  the  prince  among  Indian  artists,  was  a  candidate  for  consort  to  the 
royal  princess.  Maharajah  Ayilyam  Tirunal,  the  enlightened  Ruler  of  Travancore, 
rejected  his  case  *as  he  was  a  shade  too  dark'. 

Raja  Ravi  Varma  used  to  reminisce  in  later  days  how  good  the  decision  was  and 
how  destiny  had  helped  him  in  that.  He  rose  to  be  the  uncrowned  king  in  the  field  of 
art.  He  was  not  a  'Rajah*  in  the  true  sense  but  was  called  so  from  the  beginning,  how 
and  why  none  knows!  His  drawing  of  Saraswati  and  Lakshmi  revolutionised  the 
innermost  corners  of  India,  in  effect  next  only  to  those  of  Ramayana  and  Mahabharata. 
Had  he  painted  Saraswati  with  a  violin,  imagine  what  would  have  been  the  effect! 


Govinda  Dikshitar,  Achyutappa  Nayak  and  some  others  are  well  known  for  their 
administrative  calibre  and  eminence  in  the  field  of  music.  Ajit  Kumar  Panja,  Union 
Minister  sang  while  inaugurating  the  Tiruvaiyaru  Aradhana  and  Bangarappa,  Karnataka 
Chief  Minister  sang  at  the  Panchakshari  Gandag.  Jayalalitha,  Tamil  Nadu  Chief 
Minister,  an  accomplished  artiste,  could  have  sung  likewise  with  merit  and  acclaim 
while  inaugurating  the  Festival  of  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  1991-1992  but  chose  to 
give  a  scholarly  speech  pregnant  with  thoughts.  Vide  extracts  elsewhere. 



'If  gold  could  be  found  with  fragrance,  it  is  Tyagaraja,  Kshetragna,  Purandara 
Dasa  and  Jeyadeva',  remarked  the  eminent  scholar  Dr.V.  Raghavan.  Tyagaraja 
immortalised  Purandara  in  his  Prahalada  Bhakti  Vijayam.  Purandara  stands 
'unapproached  as  the  supreme  leader  of  the  science  no  less  than  the  art  of 
music'.  Four  centuries  have  passed  and  yet  he  remains  the  Sangita  Pitamaha. 
None  could  unseat  him  from  that  pedestal. 

He  has  given  expression  in  his  'Vasudeva  Natnavalf  to  an  achievement  of 

'I  shall  briefly  describe,  by  the  grace  of  Vyasaraya, 
the  Namavali  of  Vasudeva: 

Thus  altogether  four  lakhs  and  seventy-five  thousand  kritis  has 
Purandara  Vithala  Vyasa  Muni  caused  to  be  sung.' 

He  gives  a  break-up  of  the  categories  of  songs  leading  to  the  total  leaving  twenty 
thousand  to  be  accounted  for  probably  as  miscellaneous  songs  like  a  sincere, 
conscientious  accountant  This  claim  had  been  accepted  all  along  and  none  had 
challenged  it  till  a  reviewer  of  my  A  Garland  remarked  thus: 

'  The  author's  love  of  music  and  respect  of  musicians  infuses  the  entire  book.  While  this 
is  unexceptionable  and  surely  makes  for  interesting  reading,  it  does  mean  that  a  legend 
is  quoted  without  an  attempt  to  look  at  its  credibility.  Purandaradasa  is  credited  with 
composing  475000  songs...  ' 

The  issue  raised  is  quite  pertinent  The  critic  obviously  should  disbelieve  the 
Purandara  claim  as  he  calls  it  a  legend. 


It  was  Uttiramerur;  1961  was  the  year.  O.V.  Alagesan  brought  a  devout  poet 
to  the  temple.  The  poet  went  on  pouring  out  extempore  compositions  on  God 
for  hours  and  astoundingly  repeated  them  too  for  a  check  up  ( even  as  Tyagaraja 
did  on  his  return  from  his  pilgrimage  to  ensure  authenticity).  I  was  present  (  at 
Uttiramemr,  not  Tiruvaiyaru).  I  was  reminded  of  Mozart's  words,  'My  whole  soul 
is  on  fire'.  The  poet  and  his  ilk  are  on  fire,  inspired  and  in  a  trance  not  infrequently 
and  this  cannot  be  fully  understood  by  mundane  man.  What  is  improbable  to  the 
ordinary  is  child's  play  to  the  inspired  genius. 

Gavaskar,  Hadlee,  Bradman,  Pele,   Navratilova  and  Borg  have  shown 


achievements  absolutely  beyond  the  capacity  and  comprehension  of  the 
multitude.  Sergei  Bubka  soars  to  6.12  meters  in  pole  vault  effortlessly.  The 
United  States  of  America  and  Allies  destroyed  thousands  of  men  in  the  short 
span  of  three  days  losing  just  a  score  of  men  themselves  in  the  Gulf  War. 
Hiroshima  achieved  what  scores  of  earthquakes  had  not.  Miracles  do  happen. 
Whatever  Purandara  uttered  was  music.  Praise  of  the  Lord  was  his  singular 
occupation  when  he  moved  out  of  his  home  on  his  life  -  mission  for  four  decades 
with  his,  devout  wife  and  sons  who  played  the  role  Vinayaka  did  for  Vyasa  on 
pilgrimage.  The  learned  Justice  T.L.  Venkataramayyar  writes: 

'  Purandaradasa  states  ( the  learned  Judge  does  not  use  the  word  "claims")  that  he  had 
composed  4.75  lakh  songs.  This  by  itself  an  astonishment,  becomes  all  the  gteater  when 
the  quality  of  the  songs  is  examined ...  simple  language,  homely  sayings  and  proverbs...1 


Can  the  author  of  a  biographical  dictionary  indulge  in  the  luxury  of  attempting 
to  verify  such  an  issue  and  do  justice?  Ramakrishna  Paramahamsa  remarked: 

'  A  salt  doll  went  to  the  sea  to  measure  its  depth. 
The  minute  it  plunged  into  the  sea,  it  was  dissolved.' 

'What  is  the  use  of  asking  how  many  palm  trees  are  there  or 

how  much  toddy  is  in  the  shop 

when  one  cannot  take  more  than  a  cup?' 

When  dozens  of  authorities  had  mentioned  Dasa's  claim  all  along  without 
casting  a  shadow  of  doubt,  could  one  in  a  biographical  dictionary  choose  to  cast 
doubts  on  the  claim  and  take  up  original  research?  If  this  is  taken,  what  about 
Tyagaraja's  recitation  of  Ram  Nam  ninty-six  crore  times  and  Saint  Tirugnana 
Sambandar  singing  'Todudaiya  Sevian'  at  the  age  of  three?  Ravi  Kiran, 
Shashank  and  many  others  are  credited  with  precocious  talents;  Can  they  all  be 
challenged  ?  Can  each  such  issue  be  put  to  strict  screening  in  a  dictionary  or 
can  they  be  thrown  out  as  incredible.,  improbable  and  impossible?  One  would 
be  guilty  of  over-simplification  to  say  lyes>  °r  'no'  or  even  to  give  an  oracular 
finding.  An  old  folly  could  be  cited  as  an  instance  of  such  an  approach: 

Advocate  :  'Have  you  stopped  beating  your  wife?' 
(Witness  falters,  flounders,  objects  and  tries  to  clarify.) 
Advocate  again:  'I  don't  want  your  stories.  Say  yes  or  no.' 

It  is  incorrigible  to  insist  on  so  since  both  are  shorn  of  truth  but  this  is  done.  The 
book  A  Garland  seeks  to  escape  from  this  tragic  practice  of  over-simplification. 


'  It  is  the  truthfulness  and  the  information  of  the  so-called  authority  that  are  in  question; 
and  this  question  the  historian  has  to  answer  for  himself,  on  his  own  authority.  Even  if 


he  accepts  what  his  authorities  tell  him,  therefore,  he  accepts  it  not  on  their  authority 
but  on  his  own;  not  because  they  say  it,  but  because  it  satisfies  his  criterion  of  historical 

And  the  contra  is  also  held  out : 

1  The  historian,  however  long  and  faithfully  he  works,  can  never  say  that  his  work  is  done 
once  for  all.  ' 

-  R.G.  Collingwoor  in  'The  Idea  of  History  '. 

The  norm  demands  a  firm,  unequivocal  statement  from  the  biographer  and 
the  historian,  it  is  true.  The  historian  takes  into  account  a  variety  of  factors  such 

as  - 

Commonsense,  Credibility,  Probability,  Capacity,  Capability, 
Feasibility,  Evidence,  Space,  Period,  Time,  Status  and  Integrity 
of  the  source  and  Image  of  the  actor  in  question. 


Purandara  claims  it  and  the  song  is  extant.  His  claim  has  been  repeated  and 
sustained  during  the  last  four  centuries.  The  poet  is  hailed  as  a  saint.  His 
syllabus  has  not  been  altered  nor  sought  to  be  altered  still.  His  image  is  supreme, 
He  is  called  'Pitha  Maha'  and  an  avtar  of  Narada.  Concert  halls  and  dances  and 
bhajans  resound  with  his  songs  hailed  by  Vyasa  as  'Purandaropanishad1. 
Institutions  are  named  after  him  and  festivals  are  celebrated  in  his  honour. 


'In  most  cases,  the  authentic  picture  of  many  celebrated  and  venerable  figures  gets  into 
a  maze  of  myths  and  anecdotes.  But  these,  as  handed  down  by  tradition,  are  NOT  to 
be  ignored  but  understood,  for  they  represent  the  IMAGE  that  these  great  artists  had 
created  in  the  minds  of  the  people  and  the  VALUE  that  the  people  saw  in  their  lives  and 

—  Dr,  V.  Raghavan 
(Emphasis  sfipplied) 

So,  one  can  ill-afford  to  side-line  his  claim.  To  ignore  it  is  to  demolish  the 
image  so  fervently  created  and  nursed  through  centuries;  and  set  at  naught  the 
immense  faith  and  value  musicians  and  music-lovers  attach  to  Dasa  and  the 
inspiration  they  draw  from  his  compositions.  If  one  were  to  disbelieve  his  specific 
claim,  can  he  still  be  called  a  Saint  ?  That  is  the  crux  of  the  issue.  It  does  not 
stop  at  that.  The  credibility  of  many  -  big  and  great  -  shall  also  be  in  jeopardy. 
Vyasaraya  said, 

If  ever  there  was  a  Dasa,  it  is  Purandara  Dasa'. 

Should  not  such  statements  too  be  discarded?  Sambandar,  Appar  and 


Sundarar  are  credited  with  singing  49000, 38000, 1 6000  padikams  but  only  383, 
312  and  100  are  now  available.  Considering  their  total  devotion,  scholarship, 
poetical  talents,  can  anyone  still  say  that  they  could  not  have  sung  more  than 
what  are  now  available?  Likewise  Arunagirinathar  is  credited  with  singing 
sixteen  thousand  but  only  1360  are  available.  Their  devotion  was  so  complete, 
their  capability  (asukavi)  was  so  superhuman,  that  they  are  seen  to  be  human 
Amazons  coming  down  the  Niagara  Falls  on  the  Atlantic  Ocean;  and  their  only 
mission  and  occupation  were  to  spread  spirituality.  The  man  who  has  seen  only 
the  Silver  Cascade  is  apt  to  deny  that  Niagara  Falls  comes  down  heavily  from 
a  height  of  over  forty-five  meters  (Angel  Waterfalls,  Venezuela  has  a  height  of 
1000  metres,)  It  is  subjective. 

I  consulted  Senior  Musicologist  Prof.  S.R.  Janakiraman  and  he  waslgood 
enough  to  remark  after  profound  thinking:  ^ 

11  In  music,  it  is  a  peculiar  phenomenon  that  more  than  one  composer  of  a  particular  stock 
has  adopted  the  same  vaggeyakara  mudra.  In  the  Dikshitar  family,  except  Ramaswamy 
Dikshitar,  the  rest  including  Subbarama  Dikshitar,  why  even  the  eldest  of  the  Tanjore 
Quartette,  Ponniah  Pillai,  had  adopted  'Guruguha'  as  their  mudra.  A  great  number  of 
spurious  compositions  under  the  stamp  of  Guruguha  have  also  flooded  the  music  world. 
Similarly  it  is  possible  that  several  Karnataka  Composers  had  their  signature  as 
Purandara  or  Purandara  Vittala.  Such  being  the  case,  could  not  'Purandara  Dasa'  just 
have  represented  the  entire  Dasakuta  who  have  sung  in  praise  of  Vasudeva  in  such 
large  numbers?  Father,  son  and  grandson,  these  three  contributed  the  Tallapaka 
compositions  and  all  had  Venkatesa  as  the  synonym.  Their  songs  number  32000  out 
of  which  only  12000  could  be  unearthed  on  copper  plates  -  solid  and  imperishable 
evidence.  So  long  as  there  has  been  no  Bhagavata  sampradaya  or  a  Geya  sampradaya, 
the  songs  being  transmitted  from  mouth  to  mouth,  it  looks  immaterial  and  is  of  no  avail 
to  ponder  over  the  possibility  or  otherwise  of  a  mammoth  number  of  songs  composed 
by  anyone  single  composer. ' 

He  has  further  made  the  following  thought-provoking  observations: 

'  Excepting  for  a  reference,  almost  casual  so  it  looks,  by  Subbarama  Dikshitar,  there  is 
no  documentary  evidence  to  show  that  Purandara  Dasa  was  the  acclaimed  primordial 
teacher  of  music  who  drafted  an  unquestionably  uniform  syllabus  never  possible  in 
music.  It  is  only  an  anumana  pramana  as  one  of  the  dozen  musicologists  of  Karnataka 
has  himself  admitted  such  a  tact.  When  even  in  the  case  of  the  kritis  of  Tyagaraja  for 
the  most  part,  not  so  much  in  the  case  of  Dikshitar,  there  has  been  an  unwarranted 
diversification  of  patantara  -version  of  rendition  between  one  school  and  another,  why 
even  between  one  musician  and  another,  how  are  we  to  vouchsafe  the  authenticity, 
credibility,  capability  and  capacity,  and  above  all,  being  the  most  important  one  -  human, 
physical  possibility  of  the  mortal  composer  with  all  due  devotion  to  the  divine  minstrels 
commissioned  on  the  earth.  With  all  their  divine  calibre,  they  were  also  only  human 
beings  and  proved  themselves  mortal  though  subsequently  immortal  by  means  of  what 
they  have  left  behind  to  have  composed  in  such  thousands? 

With  due  respect  to  the  learned  Professor,  I  think  that  Purandara  Dasa 
cannot  in  this  instant  case  betaken  as  representing  a  family  or  clan  of  composers 
as  his  song  is  unequivocally  personal.  A  copy  of  the  song  is  annexed.  It  is  the 


personal  claim  of  Purandara  !  There  is  no  case  to  orate  '  Dasa  was  an 
honourable  saint ;  but  I  do  not  believe  his  song  '. 

In  fine,  one  has  to  bow  with  respect  and  admiration  to  the  greatest  of  Dasas 
for  his  incredibly  large,  prodigious  output,  for  his  immortal  contributions  and  for 
his  saintliness.  And  with  determination  and  dedication,  may  a  search  for  the 
missing  songs  be  instituted  ! 

Search  ?  Search  for  his  songs  after  four  centuries  and  three  decades  ?  Will 
it  not  be  a  wild  goose  chase  -  running  after  a  mirage  ?  No,  it  need  not  be. 
Annamacharya's  songs  were  found  hidden  in  Tirupati  temple.  Tamil  hymns  were 
found  secreted  in  the  temple  vaults  at  Chidambaram  and  salvaged  in  parts, 
'Chaturdandi  Prakasikai'  of  Venkatamakhin  was  secreted  for  over  a  century 
during  troublous  times.  Dr.  U.Ve,  Swaminatha  Ayyar  was  able  to  bring  back  to 
life  scores  of  ancient  tamil  literature  like  Qilappadikaram  after  centuries, 
Marvellous  pieces  of  sculpture  have  been  recovered  from  the  safe,  vast  bosorn 
of  earth.  The  author  himself  has  taken  possession  as  an  official  of  treasure 
troves  of  icons  of  bewitching  beauty  and  matchless  workmanship  at 
Pattiswaram,  etc.  Ancient,  pre-historic  township  remnants  are  being  unearthed 
at  Poompuhar,  Mohenjadaro,  Harappa  and  many  other  sites.  So  there  is  every 
chance  of  unearthing  a  sizeable  number  of  Purandara  Dasa's  output  of  kritis  if 
not  the  whole  of  them. 

May  institutions  and  mirsic-Iovers  get  interested  and  take  the  challenge  ! 



Venue:    Madras  Music  Academy.  Year:  1933. 

E.  Krishna  Ayyar:  What  Nayana,  it  appears  you  are  frightening 

your  accompanists! 

Kanchipuram  Nayana  Pillai,       Then,  shall  I  allow  them  to  frighten  me? 
Vocal  Maestro : 

—  T.  Sankaran. 

Note:  Konerirajapuram  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  had  senior  laya  specialists  Manpoondia 
Pillai  on  the  hitherto  unknown  kanjira  and  Dakshinamoorti  Pillai  on  mridangam  with 
Malaikottai  Govindaswami  Pillai  on  violin  -  all  stalwarts.  T.  Sankaran  says  that  this 
was  sneered  at  as  *  Magistrate  Court'.  This  yielded  to  'Full  Benches'  of  Nayana  Pillai, 
Chembai  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar,  Chittoor  Subramania  Pillai,  Madurai  Somu,  Sirkazhi 
Govindarajan  and  now  Mandolin  Srinivas  and  Kunnakudi  Vaidyanathan. 











Till  the  forties  of  the  twentieth  century,  Classical  Carnatic  music  reigned  and 
ruled  and  enjoyed  undisputed  dominance  in  dramas  and  films  -  puranic, 
historical  and  sociaL  Chaste  Carnatic  music  flowed  copiously  from  musician- 
actors  and  actor-musicians.  Some  of  them  have  left  a  legacy  which  should  be 
the  pride  of  any  culture  or  country.  Resonant,  captivating  voice  which  traversed 
two  octaves  and  over  was  sine  qua  nonfor  acting  in  the  mikeless,  music-crazy 
era.  Many  of  the  films  had  thirty,  forty  and  fifty  songs  in  lilting,  titillating  pure 
classical  tunes,  Significantly  dramatic  troupes  styled  themselves  'sabhas', 
Cinema  was  a  rich  field  for  propounding  alluring  classical  tunes  and  good  lyrics 
of  eminent  composers  like  Subramania  Bharati,  Papanasarn  Sivan  and 
Kannadasan.  Madurai  G.S.  Mani,  a  Classical  Carnatic  musician  recently  held 
several  rounds  of  concerts  with  songs  from  films  alone  to  the  delight  and 
admiration  of  the  audience  to  demonstrate  how  chaste  classicism  had  held  total 
sway.  It  was  a  revelation.  Musicians  of  the  stature  of  Papanasam  Sivan, 
Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar,  Musiri  Subramania  Ayyar,  G.N. 
Balasubramaniam,  Dandapani  Desikhar,  M.S.  Subbulakshmi  and  K.B.  Sunda- 
rambal  enriched  film  music  in  a  measure  that  classicism  could  not  perhaps  Hrave 
presented  anything  better  at  concerts. 

In  the  field  of  dramas,  the  oldest  known  troupe  was  the  Bharata  Bhushana 
Sangita  Sabha.  Sangita  Kalanidhi  Harikesanallur  Muthiah  Bhagavatar  wrote  and 
directed  'Vikrama  Stri  Sahasam1  with  Brahmadesam  Krishna  Sastrigal  and 
other  musicians  in  lead  roles.  Bhagavatar  could  not  resist  naming  the  heroine 
as  'Kanakangi'  after  the  first  Mela.  Nawab  Govinda  Rao  was  the  first  modern 
dramatist.  Legendary  Sankaradas  Swamigal  was  in  the  Kalyanaramier  Troupe. 
Balamani  Ammal  Company  (nothing  to  do  with  the  Indian  Companies  Act)  was 
a  gold  rush  -  a  madding  crowd's  sensible  destination.  Railway  trains  running 
from  Tiruchirapalli  and  Mayiladuthurai  to  Kumbakonam  came  to  be  called 
Balamani  Specials1!  ( As  a  boy  I  have  heard  my  mother  musing  the  popular  tune 
'Pattanathil  Vandalodi  Balamani' -  Has  Balamani  come  to  town?)  Madurambika 
Sangita  Nataka  Sabha  and  the  much  celebrated  Cuhniah  Company  (Krishna 
Vinodha  Sabha)  dished  out  finest  classicals  to  unprecedented  crowds  that 
fanatically  thronged  the  gates  daily.  I  had  seen  as  a  boy  the  Company's 
'Bhagawad  Gita'  at  Kumbakonam  running  to  crowded  houses  in  1 932.  Cunniah 
celebrated  the  staging  of  the  1008th  show. of  'Pattabhishekam'!  It  was  a 
wonderful  record  then  since  population  was  just  a  third  of  the  present  and 
facilities  were  few.  S.G.  Chellappa's  composition  and  entry  song  'Dasaratha 
Raja  Kumara'(  Hindustan  Kapi)  was  a  glamorous  hit  which  swayed,  thrilled  and 
enthralled  thousands.  Wizard  S.G.  Kittappa  was  a  living  legend  -  vide  1A 
Garland  '.  With  Harmonist  S.G.  Kasi  Ayyar,  they  constituted  the  'Sengottai  Trio'. 


Musicians  and  music  lovers  idolised  Kittappafor  his  classical  idealism,  robust 
innovative  conception,  matchless  brikasand  above  all  his  all-conquering,  divine 
voice  which  enchanted  and  captivated.  Doordarshan  profits  even  today  on  his 
few  songs  which  are  still  extant  for  the  benefit  and  solace  of  the  listener.  The 
magnificence  of  the  musical  excellence  could  be  gauged  from  the  fact  that  the 
last  of  his  dramas  for  Cunniah  Company  in  1 923  was  witnessed  by  a  galaxy  of 
musicians  like  Vocal  maestro  Konerirajapuram  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar,  Nagaswara 
wizard  T.N.  Rajarathinam,  Harikatha  celebrity  C.  Saraswati  Bai,  Flute Tiruppam- 
buram  Swaminatha  Pillai,  Violin  stalwart  Malaikottai  Govindaswami  Pillai,  etc. 
It  had  all  the  grace  of  a  sadas  of  the  Music  Academy  !  Musicians  flocked;  public 
went  delirious. 

There  was  a  host  of  others  like  C.W  Pantulu,  Manamohana  Arangaswami 
Naidu,  S.V.  Subbiah  Bhagavatar,  K.S.  Devudu  Ayyar  (harmonist),  Khader 
Batcha  (harmonist)  and  Maharajapuram  Krishnamurti,  The  precious  jewel  who 
set  standards  in  lakshya  music,  K.B.  Sundarambal  was  there.  Hers  was  music 
that  was  traditional,  orthodox  in  content,  coverage  and  delivery.  If  only 
musicians  like  S.G.  Kittappa  and  K.B.  Sundarambal  possessed  with  such 
transcendental  voice  and  style  exist  today,  it  would  sound  the  death-knell 
to  promiscuous  neo-classicism  and  rudderless  light  music.  No  doubt  about 
it.  The  language  would  seem  to  have  attained  enhanced  prestige  by  the 
winsome  clarity  of  pronunciation  she  commanded!  She  started  with 
Shanmuganandha  Sabha  of  P.S.  Velu  Nair,  in  one  of  whose  dramas  I  had  acted 
as  a  eleven-year  old  maid  at  the  Waltax  Theatre,  Madras  in  1935-36.  Nott 
Annaji  Rao  (purvashrama  father  of  Swami  Haridhos  Giri)  and  P.S.  Velammal 
were  in  it  in  lead  roles.  Madurai  Original  Boys,  Nawab  Rajamanickam  troupe 
and  T.K.  Shanmugam  Brothers  were  all  legendary. 

And  it  should  be  noted  that  dramas  were  not  confined  to  urban  centres  as 
now.  Every  village  and  every  festival  had  dramas  and  there  was  a  rich  fare  of 
classical  music.  That  was  the  reason  why  classicism  prospered  then.  It  was  an 
instrument  of  education  and  propagation  of  dharma,  morals  and  nationalism  too! 
Patriot  Bhagat  Singh  was  hanged  by  the  British  for  the  only  treason  of  being  a 
patriot !  Those  were  pre-independence  days.  'Let  the  sound  of  those  he  wrought 
for  and  the  feet  of  those  he  fought  for,  echo  round  his  bones  for  evermore  !' 
Gandhi  Bhagavatar  (Kumbakonam  Rajarama  Bhagavatar)  composed  that  day 
the  super-hit  song  that  stirred  up  dormant  patriotism  in  the  far-flung  areas  - 

'  Qirai  Vayil  Thanil  Azhudal !  Bharatamata  //" 
(Mother  India  wept  at  the  gates  of  the  prison.) 

—  Raga;  Mand 

The  same  evening,  the  sterling  silver-toned  K.B.  Sundarambal  gave 
melodious  life  to  it  and  sang  the  piece  on  the  stage  with  such  pathos  and  thrilling 
feeling  that  she  had  to  be  honoured  with  arrest  by  the  British.  (People  now 


canvass  for  formal  arrest  warrants  for  record.  It  was  then  an  entry  to  hell.)  The 
song  came  to  be  sung  by  rustics  in  nooks  and  corners  of  Tamil  Nadu. 
Golden-voiced  K.S.  Chellappa  Ayyar  famous  for  the  entry  -  song  'Jay a  Jaya 
Gokulabala  (Bhairavi)  with  honeyed  brikas  and  swaras  and  the  talented  male 
in  lady's  role,  K.S.  Anantanarayana  Ayyar  were  dramatist-duos.  Similar  was  the 
situation  in  Karnataka  and  Andhra  Pradesh,  where  too  dramas  were  very 
popular.  It  is  surprising  to  note  that  Bidaram  Krishnappa,  Veena  Shamanna, 
Subbanna,  Honnappa  Bhagavatar,  Veeraraghava  Ayyangar  and  several  top 
musicians  were  all  dramatists!  And  Classical  Carnatic  music  was  the  raging 
medium  for  the  musical  extravaganza.  And  the  elite  and  the  rustic  enjoyed  it 

The  entire  edifice  got  shattered.  The  divine  wedding  or  coparcenary  between 
drama/film  and  classical  music  began  to  fade  out  in  the  fifties  and  is  now  part  of 
history.  The  principal  culprit  was  the  mike  which  demolished  voice-culture  and 
the  abettor  was  a  famine  of  stage-musicians  of  the  calibre  of  Kittappa  and 
Sundarambal.  Aggressive  vendors  of  commercialised  light  music  made  it 
appear  that  light  music  alone  stood  for  stage  and  films  and  for  entertainment. 
Classical  Music  is  the  casualty  in  consequence. 


6The  most  successful  and  prominent  musicological  output  getting  concentrated  on  the 
interpretation  of  the  Sanskrit  Sastras  has  prevented  the  youthful  discipline  of  twentieth 
century,  Indian  Musicology,  from  attaining  a  holistic  character...Systematisation  of  living 
traditions  has  remained  unfulfilled...  musicians  and  musicologists  remain  strange 
bedfellows,  with  - 

musicians  scoffing  at  musicologists  as  irrelevant  scholars  and 

musicologists  looking  down  at  musicians  as  ill-informed,  perspectionless,  visionless, 
uneducated  lot.* 

—  Anant  Vaidyanathan. 

Thefe  is  a  visible  decline  in  the  number  of  musicologists  of  eminence. 
Voco-musicologists  like  Mudicondan  Venkatarama  Ayyar  and  S.R.  Janakiraman  and 
scholarly  musicologists  like  Dr.  V.  Raghavan  and  T.S.  Parthasarathy  are  not  many 
among  rising  generations. 

*     *     *  •    - 


Music  was  a  full-time  vocation  till  a  few  years  back  with  few  exceptions.  Now  many 
of  the  young  musicians  are  in  full-time  jobs  and  are  part-time  musicians.  Music  may  be 
a  stepping  stone  for  promotion,  Social  and  economic  affluence  and  corporate  patronage. , 
Do  they  block  the  scarce  opportunities  available  for  full-timers  and  thus  render  their 
vocation  insecure? 




Climactic  Dazzle 

Sage  or  layman,  man,  woman  or  child,  everyone  stands  awed  by  and  thrilled 
at  the  sight  of  mountains  and  never  feels  a  surfeit  of  gazing  at  them,  Gods  take 
their  abodes  at  the  heights  of  mountains  -  Parameshwar  on  snow-clad  Kailas, 
Venkateshwara  at  Tirupati  and  Kartikeya  at  Palani  and  people  flock  to  them  in 
preference  to  temples  on  plains.  Raja  Raja  Chola  wanted  the  Linga  at  Sri 
Brhadiswara  temple,  Tanjore  to  be  very  tall  when  he  constructed  the  historic 
temple.  Waterfalls  are  an  eternal  delight;  greater  the  height,  immense  and 
complete  is  the  delight.  The  Lord  assumes  Vishwarupato  instil  and  convey  the 
truth  of  His  Omnipotence.  Edmund  Hillary  and  Tenzing  Norgay  of  Mount  Everest 
conquest  (  at!  tara  sthayi)  are  familiar  names  even  to  school  children  but  not 
Jacques  Coustau  or  C.S.  Thompson  who  delved  deep  into  the  depths  of  oceans 
(  anu  mandara  sthayi).  Vedic  chants  reach  the  crescendo  to  bring  devotion  to 
pointed  attention  and  provide  a  sense  of  fulfilment. 

'Tarakanama  Tyagarajanutha*  in  Ksheerasagara  (Devagandhari),  Jagadod- 
dharana  and  such  other  tara  sthayi  rendition  exult  and  captivate  the  listener 
much  more  than  madhya  sthayi.  As  the  musician  develops  the  alapana  step  by 
step  on  the  arohana,  the  audience  sits  up  and  eagerly  waits  to  see  whether  and 
how  he  scales  the  peak  and  gets  ready  to  applaud.  Once  the  peak  is  reached, 
exhilaration  envelops  the  listener  and  a  sense  of  attainment  descends  on  the 
musician.  There  is  alround  pleasure.  B.S.  Rajah  Ayyangar,  S.G.  Kittappa, 
K.B.  Sundarambal,  T.R.  Mahalingam  and  such  other  singers  (Homa  birds  as 
described  by  Ramakrishna  Paramahamsa)  were  hot  favourites  of  thousands  of 
listeners  for  decades  and  their  songs  still  bring  back  nostalgic  memories. 

What  is  the  magic  or  lure  of  the  tara  sthayi  ? 

Padma  Bhushan  Prof.  T.N.  Krishnan  opines: 

It  is  not  only  because  of  tara  sthayi]  but  also  because  of  the  high  sruti  in 
which  the  musicians  mentioned  used  to  sing.  This  enabled  the  maestros  to 
communicate  and  to  have  a  permanent  impact  over  their  audiences  with  their 
deep  music.  Vocal  or  instrumental,  sruti  or  pitch  must  be  high  while  practising 
or  performing.'  Brigadier  B.  Ramamurthi  has  a  different  explanation  to  this 
phenomenon,  the  climactic  dazzle  or  experience  of  bliss  or  ananda  and  it  follows. 



Man's  admiration  for  the  Supreme 

(By  Prof.  (Dr).  B.  Ramamurthi,  M.S.,  F.R.C.S.(E),  F.l.c.S.(HON), 

F.A.C.S.,  F.A.M.S.,  FA.Sc.,  F.N.A.,  Neurosurgeon  &  President, 

National  Board  of  Examinations.,  New  Delhi.) 

What  is  this  feeling  of  joy  and  grandeur  that  arises  in  us  when  listening  to 
certain  pieces  of  music,  a  feeling  of  getting  elevated  beyond  ourselves  for  a  few 
moments  when  enthralled  by  the  magical  notes?  To/can  unmadayan,  shrutheer 
mukulayan  -  vijayatey  vamsee  ninadah  sisoh".  "Is  there  an  explanation  or  is  it  a 
moment  of  bliss,  where  our  mundane  self  momentarily  embraces  Cosmic  Joy?" 

During  evolution  many  basic  qualities  have  been  ingrained  in  the  humans 
like  feeding,  reproduction,  sex  and  the  necessary  emotions  and  these  were 
superimposed  with  memory,  intelligence  and  self  awareness  which  differentiate 
us  from  the  animals.  Apart  from  these  there  are  certain  qualities  that  are 
apparent  in  us  but  for  which  there  is  no  adequate  explanation  in  the  evolutionary 
process,  e.g.  self  sacrifice,  altruism,  etc.  Among  these  is  the  quality  of 
admiration  for  something  that  is  better  than  the  ordinary,  a  peculiar  combination 
of  the  feelings  of  joy,  awe  and  grandeur  that  is  aroused  in  the  very  depths  of  our 
being  by  certain  experiences,  thoughts  and  visions. 

The  sense  of  grandeur  evoked  when  looking  at  great  mountains,  the  awe 
inspired  by  the  gathering  clouds  of  a  storm,  the  beauty  evoked  in  witnessing  a 
glorious  sunset  and  a  feeling  of  enormity  and  magnificence  when  contemplating 
the  vastness  of  the  sky  and  the  innumerable  universes  that  lie  beyond  our  vision 
-  these  are  a  few  examples.  The  attempt  at  visualising  the  Paramatma  as 
described  in  the  Upanishads  leaves  us  with  a  sense  of  wonder  and  inadequacy. 
11  Yatho  vacho  nivartanthey  apprapya  manasa  $aha."  These  inherent  and  inbuilt 
feelings  of  joy  and  grandeur  are  kindled,  when  listening  to  certain  types  of  music, 
in  all  humans,  from  the  aborigines  to  the  civilised,  in  the  Occident  and  in  the 
orient,  in  the  illiterate  and  in  the  highly  educated  and  in  sinners  and  in  saints. 

This  is  the  feeling  aroused  in  us  when  we  hear  our  expert  musicians  render 
certain  pieces  of  wonderful  music.  This  feeling  does  not  depend  on  one's 
knowledge  of  music,  but  arises  in  the  depths  of  our  being  by  the  very  act 
of  listening  to  the  magnificent  notes.  It  can  only  be  surmised  that  this  feeling 
arises  somewhere  deep  within  our  soul,  perhaps  as  a  fleeting  reminder  of  our 
great  heritage,  of  our  intimate  connection  with  the  Supreme  Being,  who  is 
inherent  in  all  our  souls.  For  a  few  moments  we  feel  within  ourselves  the  Bliss 
that  is  shining  within  us,  the  effulgence  of  the  Supreme  Spirit  activating  our 
existence.  Covered  by  ignorance  and  by  ever  disturbing  thoughts  and  emotions, 
this  supreme  joy  which  is  our  birthright  is  denied  to  us  ordinarily,  but  during 
certain  moments  of  our  life,  as  when  listening  to  the  magical  notes  of  inspired 


music,  our  inner  being  rises  above  all  its  bondages  and  manifests  to  ourselves 
for  a  moment  in  the  feeling  of  supreme  joy,  ANANDA.  No  wonder  our  ancients 
taught  us  that  one  of  the  easier  ways  to  achieve  Bliss  or  Ananda  is  through 
Nadopasana.  If  listeners  could  be  so  elevated,  we  can  imagine  the  joy  that  the 
musician  must  be  experiencing  when  rendering  these  blissful  notes. 


Venue         :  Kanchipuram  Naina  Pillai's  house. 

Occasion    :  Lunch  to  musicians  and  friends. 

Konnakol  Mannargudi  Pakkiria  Pillai,  Pudukottai  Dakshinamurti  Pillai  and  Dolak 
Kumbakonam  Venu  Chettiar  sat  by  the  side  of  Naina  Pillai,  who  asked  his  wife  to 
4pour'(not  merely  serve)  ghee  to  Chettiar.  Innocent  Chettiar  was  puzzled  and  looked  at 
the  Pudukkotai  percussion  maestro,  who  clarified  : 

*  Don't  you  understand  ?  The  lion  asks  its  equipollent. 
More  ghee  to  us  now  is  only  to  roast  us  this  evening  !  * 

(Source:  B.M.  Sundaram) 

Naina  Pillai  was  known  for  his  terrifying  pallavi  and  laya-oriented  aggressive  music. 
Naturally  the  percussionists  were  ever  alert  and  ill  at  ease  at  his  concerts  for  fear  of  being 
'roasted*  to  the  gaze  of  the  audience.  Accompanists  dreaded  to  share  the  stage. 

*       *       * 


Laya  connotes  tension.  Many  could  not  swallow  or  tolerate  it.  Veteran 
parliamentarian  S.  Satyamurti  and  pioneer  bharatanatya  specialist  E.  Krishnayyar  were 
'  among  its  critics.  Both  were  freedom  fighters  and  were  with  the  Music  Academy,  Madras 
in  fact.  Naina  Pillai  cared  little  for  views  against  his  laya  and  pallavi.  *On  the  other  hand, 
he  increased  inversely  proportional  pallavis  a  fortiori '  If  anyone  caused  disturbance  or 
asked  for  any  particular  piece,  he  would  admonish  them  significantly  by  singing  - 

Mariyadagadayya  (It  is  not  an  act  of  respectability)  , 

Budhi  raadu  (True  wisdom  will  not  dawn...)  , 

Seetavara  Sangeeta  Gnaanamu  (One  must  be  blessed  with 

daata  vmayavalena  knowledge  of  music). 

When  someone  asked  for  a  piece  of  Arunachala  Kavirayar,  Kanchi  Dhanakoti  Ammal 
obliged  him  by  singing  the  piece  - 

'Yaarada  Kurange'  (Who  are  you,  Oh!  Monkey  ?)  ' 

(Source:  B.M.  Sundaram) 

A  memorable  public  recognition  and  honour  to  the  rasika  indeed  ! 




'A  Garland  '  contains  an  account  of  the  contribution  made  by  Pudukottai  to 
music  and  the  large  number  of  musicians  who  adorned  the  Court 

There  is  a  tradition  that  Tyagaraja  visited  the  State  and  at  the  instance  of  his 
guru  Sonti  Venkataramanayya  sang  Jyoti  Swarupini  raga  causing  a  wick  kept 
for  the  purpose  to  burn  and  that  Syama  Sastri  had  also  visited  the  State.  (Manual 
of  Pudukottai  State,  1940  Volume  II.)  How  far  this  tradition  is  true  to  fact  is  not 
known  but  it  may  be  noted  that  Pudukottai  is  just  sixty  kilometres  from  Tanjore. 
Vide  map.  The  District  Gazetteer  (1983)  adds: 

1  Pudukottai  has  for  several  centuries  been  a  seat  of  music  and  dance.  A  number  of  rulers 
of  the  Tondaiman  Dynasty  were  connoisseurs  of  fine  arts.  Vijaya  Raghunatha  Raya 
Tondaiman  was  himself  an  accomplished  musician  and  composer.  Pudukottai  had  the 
unique  privilege  of  being  blessed  with  the  benign  presence  of  Sri  Sadasiva 
Brahmendral.  In  Sangita  Sampradaya  Pradarsini  (1 904) ,  we  find  the  names  of  a  number 
of  musicians  honoured  by  the  Pudukottai  Court..  The  musical  tradition  can  be  traced  to 
the  seventh  century  A.  D.  when  the  famous  inscriptions  at  Kudumiamalai  were  incised. . . ' 

Tirumayam  too  had  inscriptions  of  value.  One  of  the  rulers,  Ramachandra 
Tondaiman  was  a  prolific  composer  and  his  kuravanji  was  enacted  at  Viralimaiai. 
The  sculpture  of  Vinadhara  Dakshinamurti  at  Tirumayam  shows  the  Lord  holding 
the  vina  obliquely  and  playing  with  his  right  hand  and  plucking  the  strings  with 
the  left.  The  bowl  is  on  the  left  and  the  yali  is  on  the  right  side.  It  is  mentioned 
that  Tiruvenkadayyar  took  cue  probably  from  this,  played  so  and  came  to  be 
called  'Savya  Sac/7/1  (Arjuna).  The  eminent  bhagavatha  Gopala  Krishna 
Bhagavatar,  Tirugokarnam  Kanakambhujam  (harikatha)  and  T.S.  Ranganayaki 
(mridangist)  hailed  from  Pudukottai.  Pahimam  Brihannayike,  the  swarajati,  is 
attributed  to  Swati  Tirunal  though  Dr.  V.  Raghavan  doubts  the  authenticity  of  this 
version.  Viralimaiai  Kuravanji  (c.1750  A.D.)  was  being  staged  annually. 
Karaikudi  Veena  Brothers  were  from  Pudukottai. 


The  word  'Konda  '  means  in  telugu  'a  hill'  but  in  tamil  'bring'.  Actually  the 
place  brought  in  good  compositions  from  two  great  savants.  Bhadrachala 
Ramadasa  made  the  devotional  outpourings  of  an  incarcerated  soul  while  he 
underwent  incarceration  at  Golkonda.  Kshetragna  was  with  the  ruler  of  Tanjore. 
The  ruler  of  Golkonda  invaded  Tanjore  with  success  and  Kshetragna  strangely 


walked  into  the  camp  of  the  invader  -  voluntarily  or  in  captivity  -  and  was  taken 
to  Golkonda.  One  thousand  pieces  were  composed  by  him  there  though  only  a 
small  number  is  available  now. 


Known  for  its  rich  fertility,  vast  carpet  of  paddy  fields  intersected  by  small 
and  big  channels  and  groves  and  situated  in  the  bosom  of  the  Cauvery  Delta, 
Melattur  is  one  of  the  chosen  centres  of  the  Goddess  of  Art  with  several  satellite 
villages  around  it.  If  Kuchipudi  caught  the  imagination  of  Andhra,  Melattur  has 
carved  out  its  place  in  Tamil  Nadu  with  its  Bhagavata  Mela.  Tsoukam 
Veerabhadrayya,  guru  to  Ramaswami  Dikshitar  and  Venkatarama  Sastri,  who 
authored  Prahalada  Charitram  and  other  dance-dramas  in  teiugu  hailed  from 
Melattur.  Once  a  year,  the  Mela  (festival)  is  held  and  dance-dramas  are  enacted 
by  hereditary  artistes  with  music  and  abhinaya.  They  are  'neither  of  the  folk  type 
nor  the  modern,  glamorised  ordinary  dramas.  Nor  can  it  be  said  to  have  been 
evolved  from  folk  plays.  It  is  a  revival  of  the  ancient  Natya  tradition',  says  the 
master-architect  of  the  resurgence  of  bharata  natya,  E.  Krishna  Ayyar. 
Bhagavata  Mela  at  Melattur  is  one  of  the  recognised  art-festivals  of  India.  ( Vide 


A  sacred  place  near  the  author's  village  (Vide  map),  Tiruppamburam  has 
been  a  nursery  of  nagaswara  artistes,  an  eminent  flautist  and  dramatists. 
Adisesha,  the  deity  after  whom  the  village  must  have  derived  its  name,  'is 
worshipped  here  and  has  been  praised  by  eminent  tamil  saints.  There  was  one 
Ayyan  Pillai  followed  by  his  successors  Sesha  Pillai  (odhuvar  and  sarindha), 
Kulandaivel  Pillai  (odhuvar  and  vainika),  Swaminatha  Pillai,  a  disciple  of 
Koorainadu  Nagaswaram  Ramaswami  and  the  famous  Tiruppamburam 
Brothers  Natarajasundaram  and  Sivasubramaniam  (nagaswaraim).  The  elder 
published  the  kritis  of  Muthuswami  Dikshitar  as  'Dikshitar  Kirtanai  Prakasikai ', 
following  Subburama  Dikshitar  (1904)  as  a  tribute  to  the  great  composer.  His 
son  was  the  famous  flautist  and  composer  Sangita  Kalanidhi  T.N.  Swaminatha 
Pillai.  The  latter's  sons  taught  nagaswaram  at  the  Annamalai  University 
and  Swamimalai  and  Palani  Music  Schools.  His  son  Dr.  Shanmughasun- 
daram,  a  fine  musician  is  currently  Principal,  Tamil  Nadu  Music  Training 
Centre,  Madras.  Pakkiriswami  of  the  village  was  a  dramatist  whose  team  would 
pour  out  melodious  songs  effortlessly.  The  beauty  is  that  his  artistes  would  play 
the  role  of  Krishna  and  Radha  at  night  and  the  next  morning  would  be  seen  doing 
some  agricultural  work  -  the  change  being  as  smooth  as  the  transition  of  the 
night  into  day.  That  is  a  tribute  to  their  artistic  sagacity,  acumen  and  versatility. 
It  is  claimed  that  Avvan  Pillai  was  the  son  of  Amirriakavi  Knnnmh  Piilai  a 


of  the  celebrated  Muthu  Thandavar.  Thandavar's  Sirkali  is  just  sixty  kilometres 
from  Thiruppamburam. 


Karvetinagar,  Venkatagiri,  Nuzvid,  Challapalli,  Vizianagaram  and  Bobbin 
have  been  great  centres  of  promotion  and  sustenance  of  music,  art  and 
patronage.  Maharaja  Ananda  Gajapatigaru  is  stated  to  have  enabled  Tachur 
Singaracharyulu  to  travel  extensively  and  acquire  material  for  bringing  out  and 
popularising  six  graded  books  on  music.  Veena  with  Venkataramana  Das 
Pantulu  and  harikatha  (musical  discourse)  with  Adibhatla  Narayana  Das  brought 
fame  and  glory  to  the  place.  Das  was  the  first  Principal  of  Maharajah's  College 
of  Music,  Vizianagaram  and  was  succeeded  by  Dwaram  Venkataswami  Naidu 
in  1936.  Prof. P.  Sambamurti  states  that  Vizianagaram  carved  for  itself  an 
honoured  place  on  the  musical  map  of  India  largely  due  to  the  patronage  of 
Maharaja  Ananda  Gajapati  and  the  advent  of  illustrious  musicians  like  - 

Gururayacharyulu,  Duruvasulu  SuryanarayanaSastrulu,  Venkataramana  Das, 
Adibhatla  Narayana  Das  and  Kala  Prapurna  Dwaram  Venkataswamy  Naidu. 


Compositions  starting  with  the  letter  *NA'  destroys  wealth  : 

with  the  letter  *HA*  destroys  fame  ;  and 
with  the  letter  *MA*  destroys  everything. 

This  warning  in  Sangita  Darpan  may  be  assessed  in  the  context  of  songs  like  - 

Nadachi  Nadachi  (Kharaharapriya) 

Han  Yanuvani  (Todi)  and 
Makelara  Vicharamu  (Ravichandrika).  Let  it  'destroy  everything*,  what  do  I  care  ? 


Classical  Carnatic  music  is  in  the  process  of  transition  from  uncompromising 
tradition-based  classicism  to  an  undefined  compromising  classicism  with  a  multitude 
of  software  professional  vendors  catering  to  professional  and  amateur  purchasers  and 
audience  in  the  hands  of  a  plethora  of  urban-oriented  commercial  and  non -commercial 
vested  interests  whose  interest  in  the  promotion  of  classicism  may  be  perhaps  marginal. 

—  M.N.R. 





The  Inimitable  Bharatis 

1  Of  thousands  of  men  some  rare  soul  strives  to  realize  Me: 
Of  those  striving  Yogis,  again,  some  rare  one  knows  Me  in  reality.  ' 

(VI I -3  Bhagavad  Gita) 

1881  was  the  year  of  discarding  his  earthly  frame.  1 882  was  the  year  of  his  birth.  No 
fears;  there  is  no  mistake  in  the  years!  The  Bharati  of  Narimanam  left  and  the  Bharati  of 
Ettayapuram  arrived.  Subramania  Bharati  drew  profound  inspiration  from  the  songs  of 
Gopala  Krishna  Bharati.  Cultural,  emotional  and  artistic  instincts  and  ideals  of  both  were 
in  essence  identical  and  their  revolutionary  endeavours  ran  on  even  keel.  While  spiritual 
uplift  and  crusade  against  untouchability  predominate  in  the  songs  of  Gopala  Krishna, 
social  uplift  and  crusade  for  political  independence  are  the  dominant  features  of 
Subramania.  If  Nandanar  was  the  chosen  instrument  for  the  projection  of  his  ideals  for 
one,  Tilak,  Lajpat  Rai,  Panchali,  etc.,  were  the  instruments  of  the  other.  Both  were 
strangers  to  material  affluence.  Both  were  supreme  masters  in  tamil  and  music.  Even 
if  Tamil  Nadu  sidelines  them  and  their  contributions,  history  shall  assign  them  golden 

Dr.  M.V.  Jayarama  Ayyar  of  Venkatesha  Education  Society,  Bangalore  has  drawn 
some  beautiful  parallel  identities  in  the  songs  of  the  two  Bharatis  which  substantiate 
how  Subramania  had  extensively  taken  the  lead  given  by  and  drawn  inspiration  from  his 
elder  (Anandathandavapuram  Gopala  Krishna  Bharati  Souvenir).  Here  are  they; 

Of  Gopala  Krishna  Bharati 

Eppo  tolaiyuminda  thunbam 

Madu  tinnum  pulaya 
Unakku  Margazhi  thirunalo? 

Gnayamtano  neersollum: 

QyNandanare,  Namma  jadhikkadukkumo  ? 

Namenna  seyvom  pulayare;  Indha 
bhoomiyilillada  pudumaiyai  Random 

Andaikkadimai  nanallave 

Tillaiveliyile  kalandu 
kondalavar  tirumbiyum ... 

Of  Subramania  Bharati 

Endru  thaniyuminda  sudandira  dagam.. 

Thondu  seyyumadimai; 
Unakku  sudandira  ninaivoda? 

Oy,  Tilakare  nam  jadhikkadukkumo? 
Seyvadu  sariyo  sollum. 

Namenna  seyvom  thunaivare;  Indha 
bhoomiyilillada  pudumaiyai  kandom 

Anniyartamakkadimai  allave 

Vira  sudandiram  vendi  nindrar 
pinnar,  verondru...' 

These  clearly  establish  the  fact  that  the  ingenuous  flame  disappeared  on  the  day  of 
Maha  Sivaratri  in  1881  only  to  reappear  in  1882  not  only  to  prove  that  soul  is  immortal 
but  also  to  declare  unequivocally  that  the  elder  was  the  legator,  trail-blazer  and  the 
younger  the  legatee. 




(A  Farce) 

*  Janaki,  could  you  recollect  having  seen  this  magnificent  landscape  ?' 

'No,  dear  Lord,  it  was  long  back  and  I  was  then  in  captivity  and  in  deep 
distress.  How  could  I  ever  think  of  the  landscape  then?  You  have  thoughtfully 
brought  me  here  now,  I  am  glad  that  your  visit  to  this  cultured  Chola  Desa  had 
blessed  the  people  with  rivers  running  to  their  brim  after  a  long  time....  Much  has 
changed  too  since  my  last  journey  to  the  South  with  scores  of  enchanting 
temples  of  immense*  size,  rare  architectural  beauty  and  sculptural  elegance 
springing  up  like  chess  pieces  on  a  vast  carpet  of  green  paddy  fields  intersected 
by  serpentine  rivers  and  roads  like  improvised,  innovative  delineation  of  ragas 
and  swaras.  Noble  edifices,  ancient  culture,  appearance  of  a  galaxy  of  sages, 
saints,  rulers  and  artistes  of  eminence,  what  a  beautiful  land  of  aggregated 
charm  and  splendour  is  this!!  No  wonder  music  and  dance  found  their  genial 
home  here.  ' 

(Sita  and  Rama  pass  through  Chidambaram,  Mayiladuthurai,  Aduthurai, 
Kumbakonam  and  Tiruvidaimarudur,  Mannargudi  and  reach  Tanjore,  There  is 
hesitation.  Pushpak  viman  slows  down  and  hovers  over  Tanjore.) 

You  seem  to  be  turning  back?  Is  not  Panchanada  Kshetram  (Tiruvaiyaru)  in 
our  itinerary?  You  look  agitated  too!' 

[  Sita  draws  near.] 

1  would  like  to  skip  Tiruvaiyaru,  Sita.  Once  we  step  into  Tiruvaiyaru, 
Tyagaraja  would  block  our  movement  and  I  am  scared  of  him  too!!1 

Tyagaraja!  How  does  he  come  into  the  picture?  It  was  you  who  granted  him 
salvation  a  century  and  a  half  back/ 

'Oh!  I  understand.  The  mother  in  you  clouds  your  vision  and  renders  you 
blind  to  realities.  Can't  you  recollect  his  harassing  me  with  never-ending  pleas, 
pathetic  and  pressing  entreaties,  nagging  questions,  petty  insinuations  and 
intolerant  jealousies!  His  passion  for  his  kshetra  and  this  river  Cauvery  and  his 
surrender  to  Nadopasana  would  surely  drive  him  mad  once  he  knows  that  we 
were  to  be  at  Tiruvaiyaru.  He  will  relinquish  his  place  in  Heaven  or  take  a  holiday 
from  Salvation  itself  and  wait  at  the  bridge  on  the  outskirts  of  Tiruvaiyaru. . . .  You 
may  like  to  see  him  again.  But  I  shudder  even  to  think  of  Tyagaraja.  Please  try 
to  forget  the  place.  We  have  many  places  to  see  yet...  If  you  like,  we  could  visit 


'How  could  you  say  so  of  that  prime  devotee  of  yours.  Very  unfair,  dear.  We 
should  be  glad  if  he  steals  sometime  from  Heaven  to  be  with  us ' 

'Maithili,  you  have  no  idea  of  the  nagging  harassment  I  had  suffered,  his 
cutting  sarcasm,  his  biting  insinuations  and  his  colossal  capacity  and  obsession 
with  his  own  urge.  Even  if  Tyagaraja  is  not  there,  Tyagaraja-ism  is  sufficient 
to  unnerve  me.' 

(Wipes  the  surging  sweat  with  Site's  scented  handkerchief  apparently 
in  a  tactical  manoeuvre  to  rope  her  in  to  his  view.) 

'See,  Sita;  You  know  that  I  had  given  him  darshans  and  often  talked  to  him. 
Why,  he  has  himself  acknowledged  them  in  many  songs  like  - 

Bhavanuta  -  Mohanam,  wherein  he  refers  to  my  visit  to 

his  house; 

Pa/i/  Rama  Rama  Yanuchu    -  Kharaharapriya,  in  which  he  avers  that  I  gave  him 

darshan  and  spoke  to  him  endearingly. 

Kanugontini  -  Bilahari,  in  which  he  records  having  found  me:  and 

Giripai  Nelakonna  -  Sahana,  wherein  he  categorically  notes  that  he  had 

been  promised  of  Salvation  by  me. 

Do  not  be  under  the  impression  that  it  was  all  casual  'seeing'  and  the  like. 
He  concedes  in  Enta  Bhagyamu  -  Saranga  of  i%  being  close  to  him,  speaking 
to  him  with  affection  and  dispelling  all  his  sorrows.  Paluku  Kandachakkeranu  - 
Navarasa  Kannada  is  the  relevant  record  of  my  discussing  with  him  the  merits 
of  the  dance  and  music  of  -  not  Tanjore  courtezans  but  of  -  celestial  women  and 
dancing  girls  and  that  our  discussions  were  fruitful  and  sweet.  He  concedes,  in 
his  Rama  Rama  Ramachandra  -  Ghanta,  Chinna  nade  A/a  (  Kalanidhi )  and 
Emani  Vegintune  -  Huseni ,  that  he  had  nothing  to  aspire  for  and  that  I  had  taken 
him  by  the  hand,  embraced  him  and  cheered  him  up.  With  the  population 
galloping  towards  5000  millions  and  attendant  work,  I  forget  when  I  had  taken 
your  hand,  Sita.  But  I  am  sure  I  had  taken  his  out  of  sheer  love  of  him  and 
sympathy  for  his  saintliness,  musicianship  and  supreme  vaggeyakara 
eminence.  But  when  I  seek  to  look  to  others,  lo!  what  happens?  He  raises  a 
hue  and  cry  like  a  naughty  orphan,  a  nagging  second  wife,  a  domineering  nayika 
(virahotkanthita,  vipralabda,  proshitabhartrika  or  a  viyoga),  or  a  hungry  ailing 
person.  He  accuses  me  of  deserting  him  though  he  is  fully  aware  of  his  special 
relationship  with  me. 

He  cries,  weeps,  objects,  challenges,  accuses  and  teases.  I  am  harassed, 
Sita.  Pity  me,  dear.  My  father  would  not  have  suffered  so  at  the  hands  of  my 
step-mother  from  Kekaya.  ..You  smile  when  I  feel  embittered.  He  keeps 
incessant  pressure  on  me  nibbling  away  my  time  and  energy  as  in  - 


Enta  Papinaiti  -  Gowlipantu-.  Says,  he  cannot  bear  separation  from  me! 

Chentane  Sada  -  Kuntalavarali:  Insists  on  being  with  me  always. 

Do  you  see  the  threat  to  your  own  companionship? 

Lali  Lalayya  -  Kedaragowla:  Warns  me  that  he  would  not  part  with  me. 

Is  it  Satyagraha  or  Duragraha,  Sita? 

Ni  Vadane  Gana          -  Saranga: '  I  can't  bear  your  separation  even  for  a  minute1, 

says  he. 

Am  I  to  desist  from  ail  my  duties?  What  happens  to  my  confidential  work 
if  we  were  to  co-exist  like  a  kangaroo  and  its  cub? 

You  smile;  only  he  who  wears  the  shoe  feels  the  pinch.  My  parents  and 
brothers  would  never  give  me  a  whisper  of  any  difficulty.  Of  course,  you  were 
harsh  when  I  started  for  the  forest  at  the  bidding  of  my  step-mother.  That  was 
probably  what  it  should  have  been  to  fulfil  my  avatar  mission.  But  Tyagaraja 
teases  me  saying  that  I  am  not  compassionate  (Ramabhirama  Ramaniya  Nama 
-  Darbar).  He  goes  further  and  demands  that  I  should  swear  to  him,  Sita 
(Andundakane  -  Pantuvarali )\  Wants  me  to  be  talking  to  him  alone  endlessly 
as  if  I  begot  him  late  in  my  life  after  much  penance  and  pilgrimage  (Palukavemi 
A/a  Daivama  -  Purnachandrika).  Kings  and  princes  wait  on  me  and  talk  to  me 
with  respect.  But  see  how  "TVagaraja  stoops  to  taunt  and  tease  me  taking 
advantage  of  my  solicitude: 

'Not  an  act  of  respectability1  -  Mariyada  Gadayya  -  Bhairavam 

'Have  you  no  self-respect'  -  Manama  Leda?  -  Hamir  Kalyani 

You  have  no  love  for  the  poor'  -  Nidasanudasu  -  Hamir  Kalyani 

He  accuses  me  of  blatant  duplicity  in  Chala  Kallaladu  (  Arabhf)  and  Atta 
Balukudu(Atana).  Please  note  that  he  raises  his  voice  in  Atana.  He  does  not 
allow  me  to  rest.  He  blows  hot  and  cold.  Actually  I  see  deliberate,  planned 
duplicity  in  his  conduct;  otherwise  how  could  that  charge  arise  in  his  song?' 

'Dear,  the  architecture  of  this  Brhadeeswara  temple  is  unique  ...' 

'Sita,  stop  that.  I  have  seen  it  a  dozen  times.  I  feel  that  you  want  me  to  ignore 
the  pinpricks  and  look  beyond  at  the  alleged  innate  goodness  of  the  bard.  Well, 
that  is  what  I  too  wanted.  But  see,  he  might  go  to  the  civil  court  alleging  that  1 
was  not  fair  to  him  and  that  he  had  suffered  in  consequence  (Rama  Ninu 
Namminanu  -  Mohanam).  It  is  not  an  isolated  insinuation.  He  is  creating  a  case 
for  action  for  tort  in  Chelimini  Jalajakshu  -  Yadukula  Kambhojithat  owing  to  my 


absence,  his  health  has  gone  down  and  he  has  become  weak  in  body  and  that 
he  is  suffering  from  agony  and  fatigue  in  Bhavanuta  -  Mohanam.  To  build  up 
evidence;  he  records  that  I  had  hidden  myself  (Endudaginado  -  Todi),  as  if  I  was 
jumping  bail  seeking  to  escape  from  the  clutches  of  law.  This  is  sheer 
impertinence.  It  suffocates  and  oppresses  me,  Sita.' 

'  Dear,  Tyagaraja  only  expresses  his  anguish  and  gives  free  vent  to  his  robust 
but  oppressive  love  of  you  and  as  a  poet  it  could  be  that  he  takes  liberties  to 
exaggerate.  So...' 

I  You  know  him  not.  You  are  carried  away  by  his  platitudinous,  sugar-coated 
songs.  Let  me  be  frank  with  you  now.  (In  muffled  tone.)  He  is  even  jealous  of 
you,  Sita.  He  pries  into  our  privacy.  Unwittingly  he  has  recorded  in  La//  Yugave 

-  Nilambari  that  he  was  adoring  me  when  you  were  giving  me  betel  and  nut  for 
chewing!  Does  he  stop  there?  He  takes  liberties  with  this  son  of  Dasarathaf  this 
King  of  Ayodhya  and  directs,  'Come  hand  in  hand  with  Janaki1  (Sri  Rama  Rama 

-  Gopikavasantam).  He  would  have  invited  us  to  a  waltz  had  he  not  been 
elevated  to  the  Heaven!' 

[  Sita  seeks  to  say  something.  But  her  Lord  allows  her  not] 

II  Patience  Sita.  I  have  not  finished.  Tyagaraja  actually  wants  to  be  a  second 
Sita  to  lullaby  me  to  sleep  - 

La//  Laliyani  -  Harikambhoji  and 

Uyyala  -  Nilambari 

He  directs  me  to  '  Drink  this  milk'  as  if  there  is  no  milk  at  Ayodhya  or  in 
Vaikuntha  (Aragimpave  -  Tod/)!  He  lacks  capability  to  check  himself  and  stop. 
He  wants  to  supplant  you,  Sita!  He  wants  to  wean  me  from  you  by  sedulously 
suggesting  - 

—  to  'accept  rose-water  bath'  -  Koluvamare  Gada  -  Todi, 

—  to  'accept  the  comfortable  bed1  -  Ramabhirama  -  Darbart 

—  to  'take  my  bed  on  this  couch  '  -  Sri  Rama  Rama  -  Gopikavasantam] 

—  to  '  accept  this  pansupari '      •         '  -  Vidamu  Seyave  -  Kharaharapriya ; 

—  that  he  'would  decorate  me  himself  -Chetulara  -  Kharaharapriya ; 

.—  that  he  'would  dress  and  decorate  me  himself  *          t 

-  Rara  Sita  -  Hindola  Vasantam" 

1  It  is  all  the  outburst  of  love  of  filtered  purity,  my  Lord.1 


'Well,  see  how  he  filters!  Your  enigmatic  smile  intrigues  me!  Why  not  wait 
for  the  climax?  Tyagaraja  betrays  himself  in  his  Rara  Sita  that  he  would  not  only 
dress  me  but  would  invite  me  to...  Shameful.  I  am  ashamed  to  mention  that.' 

'If  he  invites  you  to  dine  or  for  something  else,  why  not  go  and  give  him  the 

'Keep  quiet.  It's  not  anything  of  that  sort.  He  solicits  me  'Give  me  a  kiss;  I 
shall  hug  you  to  my  bosom'.  This  is  wretched  nonsense.1 

'Allow  him  to  do  so  once.  He  would  go  away.  What  is  there  for  you  to  lose, 
my  Lord?.' 


'So  you  suggest  that  I  should  have  my  'oka  patnf  qualification  rewritten  and 
have  anothej  as  Tyaga-Sita  by  my  side.1 

'Dear,  you  took  to  task  Jabali  Rishi  when  he  spoke  in  his  love  of  you  and  his 
desire  to  keep  you  at  Ayodhya.  Now  when  Tyagaraja  says  some  simple  things, 
you  get  annoyed.1 

You  are  not  fair  to  me,  Sita.  I  may  run  mad....  Yes,  mad.' 

*  No  dear,  if  he  wants  a  kiss,  why  not  give  it.  None  will  mistake  your  action. 
As  a  child,  you  played  your  first  and  last  mischief  with  that  Manthara  and  you 
reaped  the  consequences.  But  misbehaviour  is  not  in  your  element.  Tyagaraja 
has  himself  given  you  a  Certificate  of  Good  Behaviour  with  the  women  of 
Ayodhya  when  they  were  charmed  with  your  radiant  face  and  approached  you. 
(Natha  Brovave-Bhairavi).  Please  spend  sometime  at  Tiruvaiyaru.  The  world  is 
now  marching  towards  5000  million  souls  as  you  said.  I  too  would  like  to  do 
some  social  work  to  wipe  the  tears  of  the  poor! 

'Now  I  get  at  the  secret  of  your  support.  Vote-catching?  Social  work?  Turned 
political?  Or  you  are  captivated  and  lured  by  his  deceptive  saintly  approach, 
enchanting  music  and  multi-dimensional  praise  of  you!  Well,  you  may  not  care; 
but  what  of  others.  Tyagaraja  is  jealous  of  everyone  else: 

—  of  innocent  Sabari  (Entani  Ne  -  Mukhari) ,    ^ 

—  of  devoted  Garuda  (Vinatasuta  -  Huseni)  and 

—  of  my  matchless  brother,  Lakshman  (Mitri  Bhagyame  •  Kharaharapriya), 

Am  I  to  discard  them  all  and  be  by  the  side  of  your  ward,  allow  him  to  dress  and 
decorate  me,  take  milk  and  pan  supari  from  his  hands  and  give  him  a  kiss  as 
and  when  he  desires?  Are  you  mad,  Sita?  Nan  Oru  Vilayattu  Bommaya  (Am  I  a 
mere  plaything)  as  Papansam  Sivan  has  sung? 

[  His  face  reflects  deep  distress  and  frustration.] 


By  allowing  him  to  do  all  this,  do  you  think  I  could  hope  to  silence  him.  He  will 
pester  me  with  questions  galore.  What  an  array  of  never-ending  questions  he 
releases?  He  has  the  make-up  to  be  the  best  prosecuting  advocate  in  a  country 
criminal  court  that  was  ever  produced.  Just  think  of  a  few  songs  like  - 

Rama  Ninu  Namminanu  -  Mohanam  and  Inta  tamasamite  -  Saveri. 

This  Yuga  will  not  be  sufficient  to  answer  his  queries.  Well,  no  use  of  trying  to 
satisfy  you  when  you  refuse  to  appreciate  my  distress.  I  shall  stay  at  Tanjore, 
see  Tiruvaiyaru  and  return.  Tyagaraja-ism  will  confront  you  there;  and  you  are 
sure  to  return  as  Parvati  did  after  trying  to  attend  the  yaga  of  Daksha,  her  father.1 

'Once,  I  parted  with  you  and  I  learnt  a  bitter  lesson.  Either  we  go  together  or 
we  drop  Tiruvaiyaru.  When  you  talk  so  well  of  his  capacity  for  questioning,  why 
not  atleast  confer  a  title  on  him  now  that  every  young  artiste  carries  a  cartload 
of  titles  and  the  poor  bard  has  none.1 

'Sita,  I  really  wonder  at  your  capacity  to  bear  insults.  He  audaciously 
questions  you,  'Do*  you  sing  with  love;  do  you  prostrate  with  your  body  before 
Rama*  (Pakkala  Nilabadi-Kharaharapriya).  You  don't  take  it  amiss!  I  shall  refer 
the  issue  of  conferring  a  title  posthumously  on  him  to  a  Committee  to  examine, 
as  is  the  practice  now,  and  suggest.  Now  I  could  give  him  a  post-graduate 
degree  -  "M.I. "  -  Master  of  Interrogation!1 

1  Sita,  I  would  like  not  only  to  drop  Tiruvaiyaru  trip  but  feel  like  distancing 
myself  from  Kharaharapriya  raga  itself.  Tyagaraja  invokes  it  too  much  for  his 
insinuating  indulgences!  And  he  succeeds!!  ' 

(Tired  of  arguing  and  anxious  not  to  miss  the  chance  of  enjoying  the 
splendiferous  natural  beauty,  both  relapse  into  silence  for  a  while.  The  Pushpak 
viman  strays  a  little  beyond  Tanjore  towards  Tiruvaiyaru.) 

'Sita',  asks  a  startled  Rama,  'did  you  sing?' 

'No,  you  did  not  ask  me  to....  You  were  thoughtful...' 

'I  hear  that  song  Etavuna  Nerchitivo  (Yadukula  Kombhoji)  meaning  - 

"Why  are  you  going  about  enacting  the  drama? 
Have  your  devotees  been  inviting  you 
to  stage  this  drama  of  yours?" 

That  is  the  golden  voice  of  Tyagaraja  and  it  is  his  song.  He  beckons  us.  Hurry 
up;  he  will  take  me  to  task  if  we  tarry  further.  If  Tyagaraja  is  not  there, 
Tyagaraja-ism  will  do  so....  See  the  beauty  of  the  place.  His  description  in 


Muripemu  Galige  Gada  -  Mukhari  as  a  charming  and  excellent  place  in  all  the 
world  is  no  exaggeration!  Tyagaraja  envisages  Lakshman  to  be  with  us  too.  Let 
us  summon  him  too.,.  Oh,  Lakshman  is  here!' 

You  accused  Tyagaraja  a  little  while  ago  and  bestowed  on  him  the 
unsolicited  degree  'M.L'  Now,  you  will  appreciate  that  it  is  a  poor  recompense 
for  his  conferring  on  you  the  degree  'M.D.'  (Master  of  Dramaturgy).  If  you  had 
not  terminated  your  play,  Tyagaraja~i$m  would  have  surely  conferred  a 
doctorate  on  you.1 

(The  groves,  temples  and  the  river  Cauvery 
reverberate  with  their  laughter  and  ours  too.) 


'Where  are  you  starting,  grandpa  ?* 
i         'For  Classical  Carnatic  music  concert  at,..  * 

*You  are  doing  disservice  to  the  ancient  art,  grandpa/ 

'How  ?' 

*With  your  attendance,  the  average  age  of  the  audience  will  come  down,  grandpa  !*  * 


Note  :  There  are  committees  galore  for  everything.  Will  it  be  too  much  to  set  up  one  more  High 
Level  Committee  to  go  into  the  issue  of  attracting  youth  and  people  from  all  strata  of  the 
community  ? 

*    (  Grandpa  would  be  the  youngest  in  the  audience  !  ) 


'Chembai  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar  gave  his  concert  in  1966  with  dhoti,  jibba  and 
angavastram  (upper  cloth);"  with  dhoti  and  jibba  alone  in  1967;  with  dhoti  and  upper 
cloth  alone  in  1968  and  in  1969  with  the  dhoti  alone.  I  feel  nervous  and  apprehensive 
of  attending  his  concert  in  1970  !'  —  Subbudu. 

(Bhagavatar  was  a  Sangita  Kalanidhi  who  was  at  home  not  only  in  music  with  his 
inimitable  tone  but  also  with  changes- in  his  sartprial  selections.  -Of  course,  he  was  no 

'Notation  is  to  improvisation  as  the  portrait  to  the  living  model. ' 

—  Ferrucio  Busoni. 




'She  tries  to  explore  the  aveqarika  in  the  gandhara  grama  so  that  she  could  unite 
with  her  husband  ;  but  her  tears  trickle  down  her  cheeks  on  the  strings  of  the  veena. 
Consequently,  the  strings  do  not  produce  the  desired  murcchanas  for  the  right  effect/ 

—  Treatise  on  Ancient  Hindu  Music  by 
Aruna  Bhattacharya  (K.P.  Bagchi  &  Co.) 





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Jagatguru  Sri  Jayendra  Saraswati  Swamigal  releasing 
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Dr,  R.S.  Nagar  observes: 

'  There  were  probably  many  commentaries  on  Natya  Sastra',  but  Abhinavabharatils  the 
most  renowned  and  erudite  one.  It  is  the  only  key  to  open  the  vast  treasures  of  Natya 
Sastra.  ' 

Abhinavaguptacharya  wrote  the  work  Natyavedavriti  or  Abhinavabharati.  It 
is  said  that  he  hailed  from  Kashmir  and  belonged  to  the  Sphota  School  of 
Kashmir.  His  period  is  not  mentioned. 


Srinivasa  Ayyar:  (January  21, 1912  - 1980) 

Sivasubramania  Ayyar :  (1 91 6  -  June  28, 1 965) 

Alathur  Brothers  came  together  in  training  and  throughout  their  musical 
career  were  the  most  prominent  and  popular  duo  till  death  snatched  away 
Sivasubramania  Ayyar.  They  were  not  consanguineous  brothers.  Srinivasa,  son 
of  Angara!  Sankara  Srowtigal  and  Lakshmi  Ammal  and  born  at  Ariyalur  came 
from  a  tamil  family  while  Sivasubramania,  son  of  Vidwan  Venkateswara  Ayyar 
and  Lakshmi  Ammal  was  a  telugu.  But  both  started  their  training  in  music  under 
Venkateswara  Ayyar  and  there  ensued  an  enduring  musical  coparcenary 
fostered  by  common  training  and  cemented  by  a  spiritual  bondage  sans  jealousy. 
Of  course,  there  did  occur  differences  once  when  the  Music  Academy,  Madras 
decided  to  confer  the  prestigious  title  of  'Sangita  Kalanidhi',  Srinivasa  wanted 
the  other  to  receive  first  being  the  son  of  his  guru  and  an  equal  partner,  his'own 
age  being  secondary,  while  Sivasubramania  would  not  accept  it  saying  that 
seniority  in  age  alone  counted.  Finally  it  was  resolved  to  cast  lots  before  the 
photo  of  the  Guru  and  the  title  went  to  Sivasubramania  Ayyar  in  1 964;  and 
Srinivasa  Ayyar  got  it  in  1965.  (The  title  is  yet  to  be  given  jointly  as  is  done  in 
the  case  of  Nobel  Prize,)  Sivasubramania  was  seven  and  Srinivasa  was  eleven 
when  they  started  their  training  under  the  father  of  the  former  and  they  were 
compared  to  the  companionship  of  Krishna  and  Kuchela  while  at  school  by 
Srinivasa  Ayyar  himself  though  he  did  not  specify  who  was  Krishna  and  who  was 
Kuchela.  Srinivasa  Ayyar  was  a  scholar  in  Sanskrit,  was  Secretary  to  the 
Tyagabrahma  Mahotsava  Sabha,  Tiruvaiyaru  and  was  the  son-in-law  of  Valadi 
Krishna  Ayyar,  an  eminent  musician  and  teacher. 


Pudukottai  Dakshinamurti  Pillai  was  their  close  friend,  philosopher  and  guide 
and  the  Karaikudi  Veena  Brothers  were  their  patrons.  Sivasubramania  Ayyar 
played  on  veena  and  kanjira  for  sometime  and  was  intimately  associated  with 
the  percussion  maestros,  Palghat  Mani  Ayyar  and  Palani  Subramania  Pillai. 
Alathur  Brothers  were  the  fourth  generation  disciples  of  Sri  Tyagaraja  through 
Manambuchavadi  Venkatasubba  Ayyar.  The  two  musicians  had  thus  imbibed  the 
best  of  music  and  laya  through  inheritance,  training  and  association. 

The  Duo  made  their  debut  in  1 928  at  the  Tyagaraja  Festival,  Tiruvaiyaru  and 
then  gave  a  performance  during  the  Guru  Pooja  in  the  famous  Dakshinamoorthi 
Temple,  Tiruvarur  in  1928  and  soon  shot  into  fame  and  popularity.  Were  noted 
for  their  true  traditional  values  and  specialisation  in  laya  and  pallavi.  They 
synchronised  well,  had  attractive  voice-blend  and  enjoyed  a  wide  repertoire. 

Apart  from  the  honours  from  the  Music  Academy,  the  Travancore  Court 
appointed  them  as  Asthana  Vidwans.  The  fact  that  the  brothers  were  both 
honoured  by  the  Academy  separately  shows  the  high  level  of  expertise  and 
talents  they  enjoyed  both  individually  and  collectively.  Sangita  Nataka  Academy 
Award  was  presented  to  Srinivasa  Ayyar  in  1 968.  Alathur  Brothers  had  no  peers 
among  duos  in  expertise,  elegance,  fame  and  stature. 

ALLAM  KOTESWARA  RAO  -  GOTTUVADYAM  VIDWAN:     (b.  May  14, 1933) 

The  unfretted  gottuvadyam,  also  called  Vichitra  Veena,  is  such  a  demanding 
instrument  calling  for  expertise  and  dedication  that  just  a  few  have  mastered  it 
in  the  annals  of  Carnatic  music  after  Tiruvidaimarudur  Sakharama  Rao  and 
Budalur  Krishnamurti  Sastri.  Allam  Koteswara  Rao  is  one  of  the  very  few  vidwans 
now  who  are  proficient  in  it.  Born  in  a  family  of  musicians  in  Andhra  Pradesh,  he 
was  initiated  in  music  by  his  elder  brother  and  Pemmaraju  LakshmipatL  He  learnt 
playing  on  gottuvadyam  under  Saride  Subbarao,  a  renowned  violin  artiste  till 
1950,  when  he  started  giving  performances  on  All  India  Radio,  Vijayawada.  He 
enriched  his  expertise  by  undergoing  further  training  under  A,  Narayana  Ayyar 
at  Madras.  Was  Staff  Artiste,  All  India  Radio  for  24  years  till  1986.  Has  been 
giving  performances  in  sabhas,  All  India  Radio  and  Doordarshan. 

AMBHUJAM  KRISHNA  -  LYRICIST:  (d.  October  20, 1989) 

Ambhujam  Krishna,  a  Home  Science  Graduate  of  Delhi  University  came  into 
the  renowned  TVS  family  of  Madurai-Madras  on  her  marriage  with  the  distin- 
guished industrialist  T.S.  Krishna.  Daughter  of  Madurai  Ranga  Ayyangar,  she 
had  her  training  in  music  under  Karaikudi  Ganesan  and  Madurai  Ganesa 
Bhagavatar.  A  staunch  devotee  of  God  and  an  ardent  lover  of  arts,  she  took  to 


composing  in  Sanskrit,  telugu,  tamil,  hindi  and  manipravalam  (macaronic).  The 
compositions  are  noted  for  fragrance  of  imagination,  chaste  language,  clarity 
of  thought  and  spontaneity.  Her  lyrics  are  brought  out  in  four  volumes  of 
'Geethamala\  Her  colossal  output  was  not  the  result  of  planned  exercise  but 
were  outpourings  of  a  genius  blessed  with  a  mind  that  was  sharp  and  an 
imagination  that  liaised  with  the  best  and  the  noble. 

As  she  was  not  a  musician,  she  availed  of  the  services  of  a  host  of  musical 
and  dance  stalwarts  to  set  her  six  hundred  songs  to  tune  like: 

Aadinaaye  Kanna  T.N.  Seshagopalan 

Nee  Poi  Azhaithu  Vaadi       |  v  v  Sadagopan 
Kudhittodi  Varaai  Guhane    /  a 

Rajunaite  Brothuvemo  Dr.  S.  Ramanathan 

Krishna  Leela  Maduryam  Madurai  N.  Krishnan 

Radha  Madhavam  j  K  R  Kedaranathan 

Aadum  Paadanai  J 

Invocation  song  addressed 

to  Mukkuruni  Pillaiyar,  Madurai  Dr.  Semmangudi  Srinivasier 

En  Azhaganai  Azhaithu  Vaarai  Sakhi  Anantalakshmi  Sadagopan. 

Her  songs  are  adopted  for  music  and  dance  concerts.  The  composer  had 
thoughtfully  utilised  different  musicians  of  repute  to  ensure  that  sahitya-bhava 
carries  sangita-bhava. 

ANANDA  DASA  -  COMPOSER:  (c.  1650) 

Ananda  Dasa  was  born  atCheekala  Paravi  on  the  banks  of  theTungabhadra 
and  was  initiated  by  Sreesa  Dasa.  He  wrote  the  'Kirtana  Gite*  a  compendium  on 
Bhagavad  Gita  in  kannada  with  the  signature  of  Kamalesu  Vittala.  He  was 
honoured  by  the  Maratha  King  Chatrapathi  Shivaji. 

R.  ANANTAKRISHNA  SARMA  -  MUSICIAN-TEACHER:       (b.  JAN.  23, 1893) 

Versatile  as  a  vocalist,  violinist  and  vainika,  R.  Anantakrishna  Sarma  was  a 
life-long  teacher  and  a  scholar  in  telugu.  A  collection  of  his  literary  essays  and 
speeches  and  108  songs  of  Annamacharya  set  to  music  by  him  with  notation 
were  published  in  1 954,  He  has  published  'Ganakala',  rendered  into  telugu  forty 
padas  of  Purandaradasa  and  translated  Jayappa's  'Nritta  Ratnavalf  into  telugu 
for  the  Andhra  Pradesh  Sangeet  Natak  Academy. 

Service:        Teacher  in  telugu,  Maharajah's  College,  Mysore  for  38  years 
Reader  in  Music,  S.V.  Oriental  Institute,  Tirupati 
Vice  President,  Andhra  Pradesh  Sangeet  Academy. 


The  musician-teacher  has  been  honoured  by  various  institutions  : 

Gana  Kala  Prapurna  By  Andhra  Music  Conference 

Gana  Kala  Sindhu  -  By  Music  Conference,  Mysore 

Sangita  Kaia  Ratna  By  Music  Conference,  Bangalore 

Certificate  of  Merit  Music  Academy,  Madras  1 958. 

Fellowship  By  the  Sangit  Natak  Akademy,  New  Delhi. 

D.Lit  (honoris  causa)  By  Sri  Venkateswara  University,  Tirupati 

Sangita  Kalanidhi  By  Music  Academy,  Madras-1 974 

Asthana  Vtdwan  Mysore  Palace. 

The  highly  distinguished  scholar-musician  was  the  son  of  Rallapalle  Krish- 
namacharya  and  Alamelu  Ammal,  Studied  alankara  and  vyakarana  in 
Maharajah's  College  for  Sanskrit,  Mysore  and  Parakala  Math.  Inheriting  musical 
knowledge  from  his  father,  he  had  his  training  in  music  under  — 

Kari  Giri  Ray  an, 
Chocka  Rama  Rao  and 
Bidaram  Krishnappa. 

V.  ANANTARAMA  AYYAR  -  VOCALIST:  (b.  Dec.  14,  1914.) 

Was  born  at  Nagapattinam 

of  T.  Veeraswami  Ayyar. 

Musical  training  under  Plate  Venkatarama  Ayyar  of  Nagapattinam  and 

Jagadeesa  Ayyar  of  Talagnayar. 

Passed  the  higher  vocal  music  teacher's  training  and  served  as  music 
teacher  in  N.D.  High  School,  Nagapattinam  during  1965-1974.  Has  been  singing 
at  the  Tiruvaiyaru  Aradhana,  etc.,  for  over  twenty  years.  Since  1 986  is  in  charge 
of  the  Tyagaraja  Kendra,  Tiruvarur.  Conducts  pictorial  exhibition  of  the  Trinity 
and  has  published  books  like  — 


Tamil  Marai  Isai  Malar 

Sri  Desika  Prabhanda  Isai  Malar 

Bhakta  Tyagaraja  Musical  drama,  etc.  - 

He  plays  on  veena  also.  The  Music  Academy,  Madras  has  granted  a  special 
pension  to  him  for  his  services  spanning  over  half  a  century. 



Anasuya  Kulkarni  is  said  to  be  proficient  in  Carnatic  as  well  as  Indonesian 
music  in  its  different  styles  and  schools  having  had  the  opportunity  to  learn  it 
during  her  parents'  sojourn  there  where  Indian  cultural  associations  in  the  past 
had  been  pronounced.  She  plays  Carnatic  music  on  Anklung,  a  bamboo  instru- 
ment of  Bali  Isles  and  has  demonstrated  it  at  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  and 
elsewhere.  (It  is  not  known  whether  it  resembles  the  Gettu  Vadyam  of 
Avadayarkoil  Harihara  Bhagavatar.) 

Anasuya  had  her  training  in  Carnatic  music  under  the  distinguished 
R.R.  Keshavamurthy  and  T  Chowdiah. 


(Septr.  6,  1 899  -  Nov.  1 9,  1 990) 

'Ullam  Urugudaiya,  Muruga'  popularised  by  T.M.  Soundararajan  is  a  crisp 
soulful  song  favourite  with  people  of  all  ages  and  heard  at  temple  festivals  and 
celebrations.  The  tune  is  captivating  and  the  sahitya  is  full  of  religious  fervour, 
emotional  bhava  and  devotional  rasa.  Several  such  pieces  have  been  so  sung 
by  popular  musicians  like  O.K.  Pattammal,  the  late  renowned  vocalist 
Maharajapuram  Santhanam  and  the  (late)  Tirovarur  Namasivayam.  Diverse 
forms  of  compositions  like  andadis,  pathikams,  sathakams,  namavalis,  kirtanas, 
etc.  have  been  brought  out  by  her.  The  author  of  all  these  was  Maragathavalli, 
daughter  of  TV.  Narayana  Sastri,  Vakil,  High  Court  and  wife  of  M.G.  Narasimha 
Sastri,  also  an  advocate. 

Maragathavalli  is  credited  with  God-vision  at  the  tender  age  often  which  set 
her  on  the  path  of  devotion.  Mother  of  four  sons  and  two  daughters, 
Maragathavalli  reached  the  sacred  Rishikesh  in  1953  and  Swami  Sivananda 
initiated  her  into  the  order  of  sanyasis  on  March  3,  1 954  with  the  name  of 
Andavananda  Mataji,  popularly  known  as  Andavan  Pichai.  Of  course  she  con- 
tinued to  remain  in  the  family  -  so  near  the  family  and  so  far  detached  from  it . 
She  is  a  lofty  example  of  how  family  life  is  no  hindrance  to  spiritual  elevation  as 
pointed  out  by  Tiruvalluvar. 

Her  songs  are  popularised  by  the  Andavan  Pichai  Mandali.  About  fifty  songs 
with  notation  have  been  published  in  'Kirtanamala*  and  her  biography  has  been 
brought  out  by  the  Divine  Life  Society.  Several  other  books  on  her  songs  have 
been  published  too.  Andavan  Pichai's  songs  glitter  with  alliteration  and  metre, 
rhythm  and  melody.  Maragavathavalli  had  attended  no  school  and  that  makes 


her  passion  for  Godliness  and  choosing  the  vehicle  of  devotional  songs  to  attain 
the  Ultimate  more  remarkable.  Her  songs  are  in  tamil,  telugu  and  sankskrit. 

ARIVANAR  -  MUSICOLOGIST  :  (Last  Tamil  Sangham  Period) 

Hailed  from  Cettrur  in  Pandia  kingdom  or  Tirucherai  near  Kumbakonam. 
Authored  the  works  Pannvarrohai,  Ayntogai  and  Panchamarabhu.  The  last  one 
deals  with  music,  musical  instruments  and  dance  extensively.  The  work  has 
been  republished  by  V.R.  Deivasikhamani  Gounder,  Erode. 


A  disciple  of  Kalakad  Ramanarayana  Bhagavatar,  a  senior  vidwan, 
Arunachalam  had  further  training  in  nagaswaram  under  the  wizard 
T.  N.  Rajarathinam  Pillai.  Known  for  his  melodious  rendition,  he  was  highly 
popular  and  was  one  of  the  most  sought-after  nagaswara  artistes.  He  imbibed 
the  vocal  and  instrumental  styles  and  genius  of  his  gurus.  His  nagaswaram  play 
was  captivating  and  exhilarating.  As  a  boy  he  was  making  garlands  of  flowers 
for  livelihood.  After  training,  he  presented  garlands  of  ragas,  incidentally  being 
gazetted  now  in  this  book  'Another  Garland1 ,  a  hat  trick  of  garlands!  At  the  height 
of  his  popularity,  he  expired,  eight  years  after  his  preceptor  Rajarathinam  died. 

Born  of  Balavesam  and  Chellammal  at  Karukurichi  in  Tirunelveli  district,  he 
had  initial  training  under  his  father  and  made  his  debut  in  his  eleventh  year  and 
enjoyed  a  meteoric  rise.  His  rendition  in  the  disc  of  the  film  song  \Singara  Velane 
Deva*  is  a  masterpiece.  It  is  said  that  the  cine  field  colossus  Sivaji  Ganesan 
requisitioned  this  gramaphone  record  to  the  Bombay  Airport  to  satisfy  his  craving 
to  hear  it  again  before  his  departure  to  the  West!  The  song  set  a  new  trend  of 

vocomagaswara  ensemble. 


Arunachalam  was  honoured  posthumously  by  the  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai 
Nataka  Mandram.  He  died  prematurely  at  the  prime  of  his  professionah  career  - 
a  great  loss  to  the  Art.  His  rendition  laid  emphais  on  soothing  melody,  public 
appeal  and  captivating  delivery. 

HARMONIUM  A.  ARUNACHALAPPA  -  HARMONIST:      (1899  -  Feb.  2, 1966) 

Bhajan  or  drama,  enters  harmonium;  if  it  is  a  classical  concert,  touch  it  not. 
From  Tagore  to  the  ordinary  musician,  harmonium  was  an  anathema.  It  was 
banned  from  All  India  Radio  and  some  institutions  too.  The  reason  is  the 


instrument's  inability  to  provide  graces  like  continuity,  curves  and  gamakas 
(modulations)  which  are  sine  qua  non.  Hemambikadas  Subramania  Dikshitar 
was  a  towering  exception  as  he  was  able  to  coax  the  instrument  as  only  he  could. 
He  had,  as  it  appeared,  a  secret  deal  with  it ! 

A.  Arunachalappa  of  Karnataka  was  another  who  was  famous  for  mastery 
and  inventiveness  in  playing  on  harmonium  and  also  violin.  Hailing  from  a 
weaver's  family  and  orphaned  early  in  life,  he  fought  his  way  through.  Quite 
strangely  he  had  his  initial  training  from  his  football  team-mate  Narayanaswami 
and  later  Violin  Puttappa  coached  him.  As  Dikshitar  lent  grace  to  the  concerts 
of  Flautist  Palladam  Sanjiva  Rao,  Arunachalappa  gave  solidity  and  warmth  to 
the  vocalist  with  a  soaring  voice,  B.S.  Raja  Ayyangar.  'Jagadodharana'  the  78 
rpm  record  is  an  evidence  of  it.  Honnappa  Bhagavatar  is  a  disciple  of 

Pandit  Madan  Mohan  Malaviya  declined  permission  to  a  harmonist  providing 
accompaniment  to  B.S.  Raja  Ayyangar.  Later  he  relented  and  in  fact  honoured 
the  harmonist  with  a  gold  medal.  He  declared,  1  had  a  gold  medal  for  Ayyangar. 
After  hearing  Arunachalappa,  I  had  to  leave  the  concert  for  a  short  while  to  get 
another  for  him'.  Likewise  Krishnaraja  Wodeyar  of  Mysore  forgot  his  intense 
dislike  of  the  instrument  when  he  heard  this  artiste. 


A  ragamuffin  Kuchela  unkempt,  unwashed,  entered  Violin  maestro  Malaikottai 
Govindaswami  Pillai's  house  and  demanded  ,  *  Where  is  that  fellow  Govindaswami  ?' 

The  'intruding  fellow'  was  provoking  by  word  and  deed  and  was  found  to  be  a  hard 
nut  to  be  wafted  away.  Papa  Venkataramayya,  then  an  apprentice  under  Pillai,  girded 
up  his  loins  to  throw  the  insolent  old  mendicant  out  like  a  marshal  in  legislature.  As  he 
neared  the  old  man,  Pillai  fortunately  entered.  On  seeing  the  Kuchela,  he  fell  at  his  feet 
full  of  humility  and  respect ! 

Who  was  that  'fellow*  ? 

T,  Sankaran  records  that  it  was  none  other  than  Pillai's  mentor,  KivalurGavai 
Ramachandra  Ayyar  who  was  nonchalantly  humming  Devagandhari  raga  probably 
asking  the  Lord  of  Malaikottai  (  Rockfort),  as  Tyagaraja  did  of  Rama,  *if  Sugriva  could 
be  protected  for  his  beautiful  neck  'Su—griva9,  why  not  he  help  him  (Kivalur  Kuchela) 
for  his  melodious  musical  voice.' 

Whether  He  gave  succour  otherwise  or  not,  the  Lord  of  Malaikottai  did  save  him 
from  physical  assault ! 



i.  Tiruvarur  Kamalam,  hereditary  danseuse,  T^agaraja  temple,  Tiruvarur  was  to  make 
her  debut  -  arangetram.  Her  guru  Mutiiuswami  Dikshitar  of  the  Trinity,  departing 
from  his  practice  of  composing  only  in  Sanskrit,  composed  for  her  debut  the  pada 
varnam  'Rupamu  Juchi'(Todi)wdthedaru  'NiSatiDeivamu'(Sriranjani)  in  praise 
of  the  Lord.  Tiger  Varadachariar  composed  telugu  sahitya  for  the  mukhtayi  swaras 
and  the  swaras  in  the  charana  of  the  pada  varnam  with  the  skill  of  a  bora  varnakara. 
The  compositions  show  Dikshitar  ys  proficiency  in  Bharata  Sastra  and  his  command 
over  telugu. 

—  (T.S.  Parthasarathy) 


It  was  Kamalam  who  offered  her  riches  to  relieve  her  guru's  financial  straits.  Of  course, 
Dikshitar  would  not  accept  it.  It  may  be  mentioned  that  Dikshitar  called  his  disciples,  the 
Tanjore  Quartette,  endearingly  as  'Bharata  Sreshtas'  and  one  of  them  Ponnayya  Pillai  composed 
the  'NavaRatnaMala  '(nine  kritis)  in  his  praise  as  an  expression  of  gratitude.  Aprominent  critic, 
known  for  his  racy  comments,  decried  Dikshitar  for  taking  a  danseuse  as  a  disciple.  Dikshitar 
noticed  her  art  and  dedication  while  the  critic  strained  his  energies  to  see  the  flesh  and 
bones  in  her.  Probably  the  film  song  *  Aattatthai  parthidamai  Aalai,  Aalai  parkirar  '  (without 
watching  the  dance,  stares  at  the  person!  -  at  the  person!)  applies  to  the  genre!  That  is  the 
difference.  This  is  highlighted  in  the  lives  of  Buddha  and  Sankara. 

ii.  Chengalvaraya  Sastri  of  Cheyyur  gave  a  new  *sa bda '  for  each  and  every  performance 
of  his  disciple  Cheyyur  Sarada  lending  'value-added*  attraction  to  her  popular 

iii.  When  one  of  his  disciples  could  not  play  on  violin  well  in  spite  of  all  efforts,  Mysore 
Chowdiah,  provoked  to  the  extreme,  gave  him  enough  money  and  asked  him  to  leave. 
The  disheartened  pupil  had  left  for  the  railway  station  on  his  way  home.  Chowdiah 
brooded  over  the  boy's  disappointment  and  his  bhava  -  laden  heart  melted.  He 
speeded  to  the  station  in  his  car  and  brought  him  back! 

iv.  Naina  Pillai  understood  the  distress  of  Chittoor  Subramania  Pillai's  mother.  Without 
telling  his  disciple,  he  went  on  sending  rupees  ninety  every  month  to  enable  his  prime 
disciple  to  continue  his  apprenticeship.  Naina  Pillai  had  dozens  of  disciples  and 
would  not  take  a  pie  as  fee. 

These  show  the  basis  for  and  the  truth  behind  the  tamil  saying  that  "he  who  gave 
vidya  -  learning  -  with  solicitude  (day a)  -  is  a  father*. 



Dr.  S.  BALACHANDER  -  A  MAGNIFICENT  CLASSICIST:    (January  18, 1927 

-April  13, 1990) 

Here  is  his  self-assessment  true  to  fact: 

1 A  veena  virtuoso  of  international  fame  whose  unparalleled  genius  of  the  veena 
elevates  the  sou!  and  to  whom  the  veena  is  verily  almost  a  part  of  his  body.  ' 

Karaikudi  Sambasiva  Ayyar  called  him  'Simham'  (Lion).  A  resume  of  his 
career,  which  S.  Krishnan  suspects  as  having  been  written  by  the  Veena  Maestro 
himself,  provides  the  perfect  epitaph  to  his  glamorous  life: 

1  An  uncompromising  traditionalist  and  classicist,  Balachander  considers  protecting, 
preserving  and  promoting  the  pure  values  of  Indian  Classical  music  his  sole  aim  and 
mission  in  his  life. ' 

Veena  Balachander  was  the  most  colourful  personality  among  Classical 
Carnatic  artistes,  an  enlightened  interpreter  of  Indian  music  and  a  multi-dimen- 
sional personality  of  vast  parts,  deep  penetration  and  quick  conception  with  few 
peers.  He  was  - 

percussionist,  string  artiste,  mock  dancer,  singer,  poet, 

man  of  letters,  humourist,  album  collector,  cine  actor,  playback  singer, 

music  composer,  director,  photographer,  chess  player,  art  addict  and  above  all 

a  firm  believer  in  the  sacredness  of  music. 

The  man  knows  exactly  what  he  wanted  and  also  what  he  was  doing...  His 
mind  functioned  on  the  basis  of  a  pure  inner  logic...  He  never  swerved  from  his 
bhakti  towards  God  and  towards  Music/  (S.  Krishnan).  Balachander  himself  had 


Balachander  evolved  his  own  style  of  playirig  veena  which  was  close  to  vocal 
rendition  described  as  gayaki  style. 

He  strode  like  a  colossus  among  musicians,  music  -  lovers  and  others  and 
he  was  an  agnostic  to  criticism.  An  expert  publicist,  he  never  stooped  to  gain 
personal  ends.  That  marks  him  out  of  the  rest,  He  consciously  placed  himself 
on  an  elevated  pedestal.  That  never  prevented  him  from  appreciating  the  good 
in  others.  Masculine  assertiveness  was  part  of  his  innate  self  and  he  departed 
at  the  pinnacle  of  his  artistic  expression,  musical  wisdom  and  technical  wizardry. 


Was  a  master  of  manipulation  of  the  veena  in  vicranti  or  breath-taking  speed 
with  intensive  and  unusual  gamakas  of  absolute  virtuosity.  His  varied  life  is  a 
lesson  to  apprentices  in  dedication  to  and  mastery  in  art.  Whatever  he  touched 
was  gold  absolute,  He  dwarfed  others  by  the  unique  personality  and  image  he 
acquired.  Veena  was  a  humble  instrument  at  his  hands  and  his  will  prevailed 
always  or  was  executed. 

Grandson  of  Rao  Saheb  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar,  author  of  popular  works  on 
Audit,  Accounts  and  Book-keeping  and  son  of  V.  Sundaram  Ayyar  and  Parvati 
alias  Chellarnmal,  Balachander  was  born  at  Madras  in  a  home  which  pulsated, 
buzzed  and  buzzled  with  music  and  musicians.  Father,  an  advocate  who  forsook 
law,  was  a  connoisseur  and  patron  of  music.  Brother  S.  Rajam  (b.  1919)  has 
been  a  brilliant  exponent  of  classical  music.  Two  sisters  -  Jayalakshmi  and 
Saraswati  were  good  singers,  Instead  of  litigants,  musicians  thronged  his  house 
and  in  this  congenial  environment  of  melody,  young  Balachander  grew  thirsting 
for  acquisition  of  musicianship  and  advent.  He  wrote: 

11  Not  having  had  a  'Guru1  and  (by  the  bountiful  grace  of  God)  being  entirely  self-taught, 
I  wish  to  acknowledge  that  the  music  of  certain  sangeetha  vidwans  had  tremendously 
inspired  and  influenced  me...  " 

His  musical  personality  grew  like  the  wild  Tulasi'  plant  (sacred  basil)  in  the 
classical  music  garden  of  cultured  Mylapore  with  its  magnificent  temple,  attrac- 
tive tank,  broad  Mada  Streets  and  cultured  habitation  with  his  'Nadu  Street'  at 
the  centre.  The  temple  tower  beckoned  him  to  rise  up  to  its  height  and  the  tank 
laid  bare  the  depths  of  knowledge  he  could  make  his  own.  The  broad  streets 
drew  his  mind  to  the  message  of  Tyagaraja  in  'Chakkani  Rajamarga\  Musical 
precocity  was  evident  when  he  began  playing  on  kanjira  providing  accompani- 
ment to  top  artistes  of  the  day.  Started  playing  on  harmonium,  bulbul  tara,  tar 
shenai,  dilruba,  mridangam  and  tabla. 

S.  Rajam  (18)  and  Balachander  (10)  gave  duet  concerts  all  over  India  and 
Sri  Lanka  under  the  name  'Prabhat  Prodigy  Stars'  and  'South  Indian  Prodigies1. 
Like  Lav  and  Kuslav,  the  two  fair,  beautiful  and  talented  boys  were  the  rage  of 
the  day  and  cynosure  of  all  eyes.  When  Shantaram,  the  eminent  film  director, 
presented  him  with  a  tabla,  Balachander  was  a  percussionist  already.  But  when 
Krishna  Bai  presented  him  with  an  old  sitar  on  January  16,  1938  at  Karachi,  it 
acted  as  a  catalyser  taking  him  to  a  different  mould  from  percussion  to  string, 
rhythm  to  melody  and  accompanist  to  soloist.  At  eighteen,  he  switched  over  to 
veena  and  there  ensued  a  durable,  spiritual  association.  He  was  a  yogi  who  had 
scaled  the  magnificent  heights  of  sadhana  on  veena.  He  had  great  respect  for 
Karaikudi  Sambasiva  Ayyar.  Quite  soon,  he  evolved  and  reached  the  zenith  of 
his  own  -  the  Balachander  style,  He  could  not  stoop  to  play  for  the  gallery,  It 
looked  as  if  he  was  a  divine  messenger  deputed  to  lay  down  norms  for  play  and 


concerts  and  a  code  of  conduct  for  artistes.  His  was  pure  classical  play  bringing 
out  the  exhilarating  panorama  and  depth  of  raga  swaroopas  on  veena.  Like 
Ekalavya  and  Sarabha  Sastri,  he  assimilated  the  best  and  built  his  own  musical 
edifices  thereon.  Environment,  observation  and  assimilation  (without  regular 
tuitions)  probably  qualified  him  for  unique  experimentation  and  adventure  in 
quest  of  the  unexplored  frontiers  of  melody  and  classical  virtuosity.  He  averred  : 

"  I  have  no  'guru1  but  God  and 
my  music-making  is  an  act  of  piety. " 

'  The  music  of  some  tremendously  inspired  and  influenced  me  ever  since 
childhood  and,  therefore,  in  everlasting  esteem,  the  following  homage  is  the 
expression  : 

"  In  spite  of  the  passing  of  years, 
In  spite  of  living  in  an  era  new, 
Their  music  is  still  in  my  ears 
As  they  are  the  best  I  ever  knew." ' 

One  of  the  six  stanzas  in  praise  of  Tiger  Varadachariar  reads: 

11  He  who  commanded  the  respect  of  one  and  all 
Was  a  giant  in  size  but  a  soft  child  at  heart. 
While  many  other  musicians  might  rise  or  fall 
His  glory,  for  eternity,  will  ever  remain  apart." 

One  of  the  six  about  T.N.  Rajarathinam  reads: 

11  With  his  flight  of  creative  imagination  so  stunning, 
With  his  great  genius  solidly  stumped  in  every  note, 
With  his  lofty  ideas  of  improvisation  ever  running, 
He  won  all  other  musicians'  unanimous  vote  ! " 

And  this  from  the  four  on  Tiruvalangadu  Sundaresa  Iyer: 

11  There  was  a  unique  Violinist  whose  title  was  'Suswaram1. 
His  playing  was  perfect,  his  phrases  pretty  and  precise. 
He  had  a  placid  style  so  nice  to  derive  inspiration  from 
Whose  speciality  was  rendering  Ragas,  pure  and  concise. " 

There  are  six  stanzas  on  Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Iyer.  One  reads  : 

11  Discarding  monotony,  he  never  sang  the  same  way  twice  - 
Every  moment  fresh,  every  note  scent-sprinkled  and  fragrant. 
His  sonorous  sweet  music  could  even  melt  iron,  not  just  ice. 
He  was  endowed  with  a  voice,  $o  rich  and  so  very  vibrant. " 

There  are  but  three  stanzas  devoted  to  Chembai  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar 


whom  he  admired  greatly  as  a  person  but  for  whose  music  he  -  elsewhere 
noted  -  did  not  have  great  regard.  One  stanza: 

"  His  frank  heart,  bigger  than  his  body,  was  as  pure  as  his  ringing  voice 
(While  a  few  others  have  tactfully  cashed-in,  on  all  kinds  of  noise). 
For  impeccable  character,  honesty  and  nobility,  he  was  the  first  ctioice 
Who,  at  other's  fame  and  success,  did  surely  exult  and  rejoice." 

There  have  been  precocious  children  but  many  a  budding  flower  tends  to  fade 
out  and  disappear.  But  perennial,  fresh  and  fresher  showers  descended  on  this 
intellectual.  Whatever  he  touched  was  grand,  bold  and  unique. 

Many  noted  with  awe  and  astonishment  or  admiration,  and  some  with  dismay 
and  disapproval,  his  inexplicable  addiction  to  coax,  extract  or  squeeze  out  wha 
he  visualised  from  the  veena  forgetting  the  presence  of  the  audience  as  if  he 
was  alone  with  his  veena.  He  used  to  enter  into  an  amorous  soliloquy  with  i 
absorbed  in  musical  perceptions  and  explorations  impelled  by  a  sense  of  tota 
surrender  to  artistic  instincts  and  innovative,  creative  endeavours,  His^  acute 
passion  to  seek  and  lay  bare  the  depths  and  heights  of  musical  excellence  anc 
possibilities  and  portray  the  unlimited  vistas  of  ragas  was  phenomenal, 

1  It  is  something  like  an  organic  thing  which  develops  not  only  in  their  brains,  but  in  thei 
hearts,  their  nerves  and  their  viscera,  something  that  their  creative  instinct  evolves  ou 
of  the  experiences  of  their  soul  and  body  and  atlast  it  becomes  so  oppressive  that  the 
must  rid  themselves  of  it. ' 

This  observation  of  Somerset  Maugham  fits  Balachander  admirably.  He 
submitted  himself  to  the  pangs  of  delivery  and  the  audience  had  to  suffer  then 
too  since  none  else  was  willing  to  expose  them  to  such  noble  perceptions  in  the 
classical  field.  The  birth-pangs  one  could  see  in  his  tenacious  efforts  to  coax  i 
particular  brika  or  curve  or  continuity  out  of  the  veena  he  loved  and  took  to  tasl 
like  an  angry  teacher,  hard-headed  parent  on  a  turbulent  child. 

Made  his  debut  at  the  'Model,  Hall',  Mylapore  as  a  vainika  with  Tiruvalangadi 
Sundaresa  Ayyar  and  Ramnad  Eswaran  on  violin  and  mridangarn  respectively 
There  was  no  occasion  for  the  glittering  artiste  to  look  back  till  the  Lord  beckonet 
him  at  Bhilai.  The  software  genius  was  swallowed  by  the  Steel  town.  His  concer 
orientation  was  to  provide  the  audience  what  he  thought  they  needed  or  shoul< 
be  given.  His  approach  was  that  of  a  father,  teacher,  doctor  and  law-giver  -a 
in  one  and  one  can  easily  trace  the  inspiration  for  the  dictum  expounded  by  hin 
and  extracted  below  to  his  staunch  belief  that  'music  was  a  sacrement  to  hin 
and  his  music  was  totally  dedicated  to  God'.  Advaitic  philosophy  hails  man  a: 
but  a  phenomenon  of  God  subject  to  realisation  of  the  fact.  His  jealous  interes 
in  the  rasika  could  easily  be  understood  in  this  context.  There  is  a  spiritus 
element  in  it  It  was  not  their  entertainment  he  bothered  about  but  he  was  inten 


1  The  rasika's  love  for  music  has  no  commercial  angle,  whereas,  we  musicians  are  paid 
to  perform  for  them  !  To  us,  it  is  certainly  a  commercial  proposition,  a  commercial 
commitment !!  Hence  from  where  we  sit,  they  are  purer  at  heart !!!  As  a  musician,  your 
responsibility  is  to  see  that,  although  it  is  a  commercial  arrangement,  you  do  not  make 
your  art  commercial !!!! ' 

(Sruti-  August  1989) 

According  to  Balachander,  his  inaugural  veena  concert  was  on  November  6, 
1943.  His  first  and  last  veena  duet  was  on  September  24, 1 944.  It  was  with  Prof. 
K.S.  Narayanaswami  Ayyar.  'I  wished  to  enjoy  full  freedom  as  a  soloist  and  not 
get  tagged  along  to  another  and  make  every  rendering  of  ours  repetitive, 
monotonous  and  set-patterned.'  He  was  Artiste,  All  India  Radio  for  about  two 
and  half  years  during  1 942-44.  Balachander  gave  a  series  of  concerts  with  raga 
alapanas  and  tanams  from  July  9,  1967  'sans  songs,  sans  kritis,  sans  neraval, 
sans  fa/a,  sans  ga/atta,  sans  amali  -  tumali,  sans  sensationalism,  no  rest  and 
no  intermission'  and  proved  that  ragas  alone  could  keep  the  audience  fully 
engrossed.  That  was  the  Soul  of  Indian  Music.' 

Disc  recordings: 

Balachander  was  a  remarkable  recording  artiste  from  1 962  and  emerged  as 
'the  Carnatic  Classical  musician  with  the  longest  list  (25)  of  L.R  records'.  A 
musical  Gavaskar  or  Kapil  Dev  or  Pele!  On  his  twelve-record  series  of  72 
melakarta  ragas,  he  claimed  with  evident  pride,  'My  immortal  legacy  to  musical 
posterity.  A  veritable  musical  treasure1. 

Concert  Tours: 

1962  witnessed  Balachander  leading  a  team  comprising  flautist  Ramani  and 
percussionists  Sivaraman  and  Ramabhadran  calling  it  'Sangeetha  Madras1.  The 
coast  to  coast  concert  tour  of  USA  was  an  instant  success,  Then  followed  tours 
of  France,  USSR,  Poland,  Hungary,  China,  Malaysia,  Singapore,  Japan,  South 
Korea,  Sweden  and  Mauritius. 


He  had  a  dynamic  and  brilliant  career  as  actor,  music  composer,  music 
director,  producer  and  director.  At  the  acme  of  his  success,  he  left  the  cine 
field  -  a  loss  to  the  screen  world,  to  which  he  had  brought  a  fresh  look 
with  striking  results. 


Titles  &  Honours: 

Quite  a  large  number  like  — 

Vainika  Swayambu  Kala  Sikhamani 

Raga  Brahmam  Veena  Yogi 

Nada  Brahmam  Nada  Yogi 

Veena  Praveena  Veena  Varaprasadi 

Vainika  Kalanidhi  Abhinava  Narada 

Sangeet  Natak  Akademy  Award  in  1 977. 
D.  Lit.  by  World  Academy  of  Arts  &  Culture,  Tirupati. 

Regrettably  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  had  not  looked  beyond  his  unique 
attitudes  and  independence  in  approach  to  men  and  matters  and  confer  on  him 
its  prestigious  title  'Sangita  Kalanidhi'  even  as  independent  India  treated  Sardar 
Vallabhai  Patel,  Undoubtedly  Balachander's  musicianship  was  colossal.  Of 
course,  his  music  was  for  the  elite  who  sought  after  classical  finesse  and 
explorations  as  Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar  and  Mani  Ayyar  were  wont 
to  do.  It  was  not  the  Music  Academy  alone  that  was  at  fault.  Even  the  Presiden- 
tial honours  did  not  reach  him!  There  was  a  positive  unmusical  approach  in  his 
case.  It  can  be  remedied.  Why  not  confer  the  title  posthumously  as  it  was  done 
to  Patel. 


The  life-history  of  S.  Balachander  without  his  crusades  is  Hamlet  without  the 
Prince.  The  crusades  shed  much  light  on  his  indomitable  satyagrahic  character ; 
and  the  tenacity  with  which  he  pursued  his  incursions  resembled  those  of  the 
heroes  of  Thermopylae  and  Nakkiran  and  Kattabhomman.  That  they  an- 
tagonised musical  hierarchy,  establishments  and  patrons  did  not  weigh  with  him; 
bigger  the  risk,  more  intense  was  his  lone  battle  and  unrelenting  his  approach. 
A  veritable  Hampden  indeed! 

One  was  to  prove  that  Swati  Tirunal  as  a  composer  was  a  myth.  He  felt  that 
Semmangudi  Dr.  Srinivasa  Ayyar  had  been  irresponsible  in  extolling  the  virtues 
of  the  erstwhile  Travancore  ruler  in  his  biography  of  Swati  Tirunal  and  he  termed 
the  unlimited  tributes  and  claims  made  on  behalf  of  the  ruler  as  'Swati  Hoax'.  In 
his  'An  Open  Letter  dated  August  16,  1985'  on  'He  wrote  a  Book  and  Kindled 
the  Genie5  -  immaculately  documented  and  printed,  he  extends  his  challenge. 
In  pursuit  of  his  conscience,  conviction  and  devotion  to  Art  and  Truth,  he  had 
spent  unlimited  energy  and  personal  funds  that  were  scarce.  Unfortunately  his 
contentions  were  met  by  curses  and  noise  and  not  by  reasonable  rebuttal  that 


1  Those  who  spoke  well  of  Swati  Tirunal  stood  to  benefit; 
those  who  did  not  even  think  of  him  would  reap  no  consequence;  and 
you  know  what  happens  when  someone  speaks  ill  of  him  '  - 

an  allusion  to  Balachander's  death  (Vide  Sruti  Vol. 68).  With  his  accustomed 
foresight,  Balachander  had  averred  that  because  of  the  disputation,  he  might 
not  be  conferred  with  the  title  of  'Sangita  Kalanidhi'  and  that  he  might  be 
excluded  from  playing  in  the  Music  Academy  Festival !  He  declared  that  he  had 
faith  in  God,  that  he  was  left  with  just  a  few  years  and  that  none  could  debar  him 
from  stating  the  truth.  He  thought  that  the  elevation  of  Swati  Tirunal  to  the  stature 
of  the  Carnatic  Musical  Trinity  was  the  'biggest  musical  fraud  of  the  century5  and 
objected  to  placing  Swati  Tirunal's  photo  on  par  with  the  portraits  of  the  Trinity. 
He  felt  that  the  Music  Academy  had  abdicated  its  moral  duty  and  responsibility. 
Balachander  died  leaving  the  case  to  the  decision  of  posterity.  There  is  a  tragic 
element  in  this.  Even  in  his  ashes  cries  the  tragic  issue. 

The  other  crusade  related  to  Dr.  M.  Balamurali  Krishna  vis-a-vis  his  claim  at 
the  Music  Academy,  Madras  that  he  had  created  new  ragas.  Balachander 
protested  pointing  out  'the  lie  in  the  claim.,  quoting  books  and  references'. 
Dr.  Semmangudi  Srinivasa  Ayyar  concurred  with  his  views.  Dr.  V.  Raghavan,  the 
learned  Secretary  of  the  Academy  admitted  that  he  had  overlooked  facts.  After 
deliberations,  the  Experts  Advisory  Committee  of  the  Academy  negated  in  effect 
Balamurali  Krishna's  claim.  (Sruti). 

The  multi-faceted  vainika  had  left  eight  albums  with  over  a  thousand  pages 
of  19.75"  x  14.5"  containing  a  mine  of  information  on  his  life  of  turbulent  grace. 
Grandeur  impregranted  with  celestial  fire  is  eternally  impatient  and  searches  for 
greener  fields  for  achievement.  'One  does  not  fall  into  Love;  One  rises  to  it',  said 
Tim  Piggot  Smith.  Even  so,  Balachander  rose  to  love  music  and  his  impres- 
sionable life  was  a  model  of  passionate  dedication  to  art;  he  stayed  at  the  dizzy 
heights  he  chose  and  reached  while  yet  a  boy.  He  is  a  classic  example  of 
emotional  integration  and  total  identity  with  true  art.  He  died  on  the  eve  of  the 
Tamil  New  Year  Day.  (Pramoduta). 

That  Tamil  New  Year  eve  brought  gloom 
To  ardent  lovers  of  Music  and  Arts 
When  thy  ardent,  unquenchable  fires 
And  radiant  vigour  were  sniffed  out. 

O  Strong  Soul,  by  what  shore 
Tarriest  thou  now?  Sure  that  force, 
Has  not  been  left  in  vain. 
In  the  resounding  melody-house,  vast 
And  virtuous  is  practised  that  strength 
Zealous,  beneficent,  firm  ! 

—  (After  Mathew  Arnold) 


P.  BALAKRISHNAN  -  VIOLINIST  &  PEDAGOGUE:        (b.  August  10, 1914) 

P.  Balakrishnan  had  his  musical  training  under  Tanjore  K,  Ponniah  Pillai,  a 
descendant  of  the  famous  Tanjore  Quartette.  He  had  a  distinguished  career  as 

Principal,  Sri  Venkateshwara  College  of  Music  £  Dance,  Tirupati 

Professor,  Vice  Principal  and 

Principal  -  in  -  charge,  Central  College  of  Carnatic  Music,  Madras. 

Balakrishnan  has  done  research  in  instrumental  music. 

Disc  Recordings: 

*     *     * 

T.R.  BALAMANI  -  VOCALIST;  (b.December  31, 1937) 

Place  of  birth  Parakulam,  Kerala. 

Parents  T,S.  Ramanatha  Iyer  &  Pachainayaki  Ammal. 

Musical  training  under  Tirupunithura  Narayana  Bhagavatar 

Passed  Sangeetha  Vidwan  course  at  the 
Central  College  of  Carnatic  Music,  Madras. 

Debut  1 948  at  Tirupunithura 

Post  held  Faculty  member,  Bharatiya  Fine  Arts  Society 

Music  School,  Bombay  for  a  decade  till  1 975. 

She  has  given  concerts  in  Bombay,  Kerala  and  Andhra  Pradesh  and  on  the 
All  India  Radio  and  has  set  to  tune  compositions  in  many  languages.  Has  been 
training  many  disciples.  'A  studied  solidity,  firm  laya  command  and  technical 
and  aesthetical  improvisation  mark  her  style  combining  an  innate  rapport  with 
musical  science  and  art',  writes  Dr.  Sulochana  Rajendran  in  Shanmukha. 

Dikshitar  recommended  ! 

Veena  Balachander  played  the  catalytic  role  in  getting  the  postal  stamp  issued  to  commemorate 
the  birth  centenary  of  Muthuswami  Dikshitar.  He  wrote  to  Justice  V.R.  Krishna  Ayyar  and  the 
latter  interceded  with  the  Central  Minister  and  got  it  approved.  Innocent  Dikshi tar's  case  too 
has  to  seek  recommendations! 

(Source:  SrutL) 

Note:  As  the  Collector  of  the  district,  the  author  sponsored  a  commemoration  stamp  to  honour  the 
sanctified  memory  of  Vallalar  of  Vadalur,  Sri  Ramalinga  Swamigal.  Being  an  official,  he  did 
not  go  to  enlist  outside  help.  Result? 

9  Man  will  do  the  rational  thing  '  but,  more  often,  after  the  grace  of  doing  it  in  time  is  lost.  This 
is  so  in  all  good  cases  and  all  good  causes.  It  is  perhaps  a  curse! 



(b  July  6,  1930) 

1  Sruti  ?  No  tambur  is  necessary  for  me  ! ' 
1  Laya  ?  No  beats  are  needed  either ! ' 

1  Ask  not  for  this  music  or  that;  I  have  them  not: 
Baiamurali  music  have  I,  Sit  down,  trim  thy  mind  ;  and  lend  thy  ears. ' 

That  is  Dr.  Baiamurali  Krishna,  a  multi-dimensional  genius  who  has  left  no 
segment  of  the  finest  of  fine  arts  untouched.  His  contribution  to  Classical 
Carnatic  music,  light  music  and  screen  spread  over  half  a  century  has  been 
immense,  substantial  and  unique.  Dynamism  with  creativity,  avante  garde 
without  overt  emphasis  -  and  all  within  the  ample  portals  of  the  vast  mansion  of 
classicism  and  its  hoary  traditions  -  mark  his  rendition.  Romantic  brilliance  and 
aesthetic  appeal  combine  to  present  and  provide  warmth  and  the  listener  gets 
dissolved  in  cascading  lakshya-based  melody  and  scintillating  rendition.  His 
tonal  artifices  and  effortless  delivery  bhava-Iaden  and  peppered  with  subtleties 
confer  such  solace  and  satisfaction  that  one  is  tempted  to  invoke  the  Atharva 
Veda(XCII)  hymn: 

'Sing.  Sing  ye  forth  your  songs  of  praise/ 

The  scintillating  vicranti  has  the  effect  of  musical  therapy,  which 
Dr,  B.  Ramamurthi,  the  celebrated  neuro  surgeon  has  elaborated  in  this  author's 
book  'A  Garland;  Dr.  Baiamurali  has  thus  a  legitimate  claim  to  the  doctorate 
though  it  came  to  him  honoris  causa.  Soothing  melody  is  his  forte.  The  artistic 
web  he  weaves  out  in  his  inimitable  style  leaves  the  audience  spell-bound.  His 
pronunciation  of  the  sahitya  is  as  matchless  as  that  of  K.B.  Sundarambal  in  tamii. 
Nightingale  is  celebrated  for  its  forays  in  melody  only  at  nights  but  Balamurali's 
suffers  no  such  inhibition.  Notwithstanding  his  sobre  years,  the  youthful  vigour 
of  his  music  substantiates  his  name  'Bala'  or  vice  versa. 

Born  at  Sankaraguptam  in  Andhra  Pradesh, 

of  Pattabhiramiah,  a  Sanskrit  pandit  and 

Suryakantam,  a  veena  artiste, 

He  learnt  music  without  much  of  guru-sishya  pattern  save  a  brief  spell  of  six 
months  with  Parupalli  Ramakrishniah  Pantulu.  A  child  prodigy,  his  expertise  is 
the  fruit  of  native  wisdom  and  'swayam  krishi'.  It  blossomed  like  the  self-grown 
flower  plant  at  a  hill  station  blessed  with  varied  hues  and  invested  with 
fascinating  fragrance  assimilating  the  dictum  of  Wordsworth  that  self— reverence 
and  self-knowledge  lead  life  to  sovereign  power. 

Baiamurali  Krishna  made  his  debut  at  Vijayawada  at  the  Aradhana  of  his 
guru's  guru  Susarla  Dakshinamoorthy  Sastri  in  1938.  The  boy  was  given  just 
thirty  minutes  to  sing  but  he  stole  five  times  that  since  the  thrilled  audience  was 


incapable  of  cutting  itself  away  from  the  cascading  sweet  virgin  melody.  By  the 
age  of  nine,  he  was  an  adept  on  viola,  violin,  mridangam  and  kanjira.  His  first 
radio  concert  was  in  1939.  As  a  violinist  he  had  accompanied  stalwarts  like 
Ariyakudi,  Chembai,  Maharajapuram,GNBandParupalli.  A  pioneer  of  the  morn 
broadcasts  'Bhakti  Manjari',  he  was  a  constant  top  ranker  with  All  India  Radio 
and  Doordarshan  as  artiste,  producer,  conductor  and  participant  in  classical 
and  quasi-classical  programmes.  Has  given  jugalbandis  and  solo  vocals  without 
accompanists.  Reminiscent  of  old  masters,  he  would  give  the  audience  intervals 
at  concerts  ! 

In  the  realm  of  films,  he  took  the  appropriate  role  of  Narada  in  Bala  Prahlada 
but  his  contribution  and  image  in  film-music  are  solid  as  playback  singer, 
composer,  conductor  and  director  in  telugu,  kannada  and  malayalam  pictures. 

Composition : 

An  original  musician,  Balamurali  Krishna  is  an  outstanding  composer  of 
about  300  kritis,  varnams,  tillanas,  etc,,  from  his  fourteenth  year.  Several  of  his 
pieces  are  popular.  On  the  inspiration  of  Swami  Vimalananda  of  Kuttalam  Mutt, 
he  composed  and  later  perfected  seventy-two  songs  in  seventy-two  melakarta 
ragas  in  Sanskrit  and  telugu  and  has  published  them.  'Murali'  is  his  mudra.  Has 
created  new  ragas  and  talas.  (Chancing  upon  a  particular  claim  in  the  souvenir 
of  the  Music  Academy,  Madras,  Veena  Balachander  protested  quoting  books 
and  authorities  and  it  is  said  that  the  objection  was  once  upheld.  The  permuta- 
tions and  combinations  in  the  raga  schemes  are  so  insurmountable,  that  isolated 
errors  are  inherent  in  the  limitless  scheme).  The  popular  Doctor  is  a  serious 
promoter  of  his  compositions  unlike  Patnam  Subramania  Ayyar  and 
G.N.  Balasubramaniam. 

Concert  Tours  abroad: 

His  style  and  melody  are  in  heavy  demand  in  the  fertile  alien  soils.  His  tours 

U.S.A.  Canada  France 

Italy  Singapore  U.S.S.R. 

Malaysia  and  Sri  Lanka 

Posts  held: 

Artiste,  All  India  Radio,  Vijayawada  1 952 

Music  Producer  1 954 

Principal,  Music  Colleges,  Vijayawada  and  Hyderabad. 
Adviser,  Bharath  Cultural  Integration  Committee 


President,  Madras  Telugu  Academy, 

State  Musician,  Tamil  Nadu  and  Andhra  Pradesh 

President,  Andhra  Pradesh  Sangeeta  Academy,  etc. 


1  Janaka  Raga  Kriti  Manjari ' . 

Disc  recordings: 

A  colossal  number,  'Raganga  Ravali'  cassettes  cover  his  melaraga  compositions. 

Titles  &  Honours: 

Among  the  bagfuls,  the  following  call  for  mention: 

Presidential  Medal  1 953 

Padma  Sri  by  President  1 971 

Award  by  Sangeet  Natak  Akademy,  Delhi  1 975 

Sangita  Kalanidhi  by  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  1 975 

Sur  Singar  by  Sangeeth  Peeth,  Bombay 

Doctorate  (Honoris  Causa)       by  Andhra  University 

National  Award  for  Best  Music  Director  1 975 

Karnataka  Award  for  Best  Music  Director  1 976 

National  Award  for  Best  Male  playback  singer  1 987 

Kasturi  Rajaram  Award 

Honorary  Citizenship,  Vijayawada 

Padma  Vibhushan  by  President  of  India 

Sangita  Kala  Nipuna  by  Mylapore  Fine  Arts  Society  1 987 

Award  by  Dinanath  Smruti  Pratishtan  1 991 

Sangita  Kala  Sikhamani  by  Indian  Fine  Arts  Society  1 991 

Gayaka  Ratnam  by  Sri  Swati  Tlrunal  Sangeetha 

Sabha  1 992 

Saptagiri  Sangita  Vidwanmani  by  Tyagaraja  Trust,  Tirupati  1 992 

His  career  has  been  a  never-ending  round  of  victories.  A  genius  with 
glittering  success.  The  buoyancy  of  his  music  is  infectious  and  in  truth,  he  is  a 
Master  of  Melody.  A  penetrating  experimenter  of  depth  and  easy  delivery,  he 
floods  his  concerts  with  the  finer  nuances  of  music  and  gliding  melody  with 
ever-fresh,  invigorating  phrases  which  expose  the  listener  to  the  dazzling 
panorama  of  lakshya  -  lakshana  music. 


Place  of  birth  :  Tittacheri  near  Nannilam. 

Father  :  SubramaniaAyyar 

Musical  training  under :  Needamangalarn  Krishnamurti  Bhagavatar  of 

Uthukadu  family  and 
Kumbakonam  Rajamanickam  Pillai,  a  famous  violinist 


In  her  thirteenth  year,  Baiasaraswati  made  her  debut  and  has  been  providing 
accompaniment  to  musicians. 

She  has  composed  tamil  kritis  on  Swamy  Gnanananda  Swamigai  of 
Tirukoilur  and  on  Soundarya  LaharL  She  is  described  as  a  good  violinist 

T.  BALASARASWATI  -  ABHINAYA  MAESTRO:  (May  13, 1918  -  Feb.9, 1984) 

'  She  was  like  a  fabulous  flower.  Her  abhinaya  floated  in  the  music.  Her  expressions  were 
arresting  and  soul-satisfying.  Her  hands  were  poetic  like  creepers.  Dignity,  suggestive 
restraint  and  synchronisation  of  melody,  rhythm,  expression,  all  were  mastered.' 

—  Yamini  Krishnamurti. 

T.  Baiasaraswati  had  the  immense  wealth  of  legacy  of  musical  and  artistic 
talents  being  the  grand  daughter  of  the  legendary  Veena  Dhanamma!  and 
daughter  of  Jayammal  and  Govindarajuiu.  Had  her  training  under  Kandappa 
Pillai,  Chinnayya  Naidu  and  Vedantam  Lakshminarasimha  Sastri.  Graceful  in 
personality,  endowed  with  a  musical  voice  and  blessed  with  a  body  that  was 
specially  moulded  for  abhinaya  to  bring  out  the 'eloquent  bhavas  and  rasas  of 
diverse  emotions  and  compositions,  Baiasaraswati  was  on  the  stage  in  her  teens 
and  was  the  cynosure  of  the  cognoscenti  \  recollect  that  at  the  All  India  Congress 
Exhibition  held  at  Royapettah  in  1935  or  so,  S.  Satyamurti  gave  glowing  tributes 
to  her  talents  and  she  was  then  just  seventeen.  She  was  very  cultured.  She 
would  sing  well  while  dancing.  '  The  bhava  or  the  attitude  of  Sringara  was  for 
Bala  the  soul  of  bharata  natya.1  Musician-Artist  S.  Rajam  said  that  Bala  should 
be  included  in  this  book  as  she  was  a  good  musician  too. 

Here  are  some  excerpts  of  some  of  her  learned  dissertations: 

'  Sringara  stands  supreme  in  the  range  of  emotions.  No  other  emotion  is  capable  of 
reflecting  the  mystic  union  of  the  human  with  the  divine. ' 

'  The  feet  keeping  to  time,  hands  expressing  gesture,  the  eye  following  the  hands  with 
expression,  the  ear  listening  to  the  dance  master's  music  and  the  dancer's  own  singing 
-  by  harmonising  these  five  elements,  the  mind  achieves  concentration  and  attains  cianty 
in  the  richness  of  participation.  The  inner  feeling  of  the  dancer  is  the  sixth  sense  which 
harnesses  these  five  mental  and  physical  elements  to  create  the  experience  and 
enjoyment  of  Beauty.  It  is  the  spark  which  gives  the  dancer  her  sense  of  spiritual 
freedom.  The  spectator,  who  is  absorbed  in  intently  watching  this,  has  his  mind  freed  of 
distractions  and  feels  a  great  sense  of  clarity.  In  their  shared  involvement,  the  dancer 
and  the  spectator  are  both  released  from  the- burden  of  worldly  life  and  experience  the 
divine  joy  of  the  Art  with  a  sense  of  total  freedom.1 

There  could  not  be  a  better  classic  elucidation.  Ancestral  artistic  affluence, 
innate  talents  combined  in  Baiasaraswati  to  command  wide  popularity,  respect 
and  image.  Her  orchestra  included  Jayammal  and  Lakshmiratnammal,  besides 


Choristers  Narasimhalu  Naidu  and  Gnanasundaram,  Mridangam  Ranganathan 
and  Kuppuswami  Mudaliar,  Flute  T.  Viswanathan  (now  a  Sangita  Kalanidhi)  and 
Clarinet  Radhakrishna  Naidu. 

Concert  Tours  :          Japan  1961 

USA  1962 

UK  1963 

Europe  and  USA  1 965 

She  had  conducted  a  Summer  School  in  San  Francisco; 
has  choreographed  Sarabhendra  Bhupala  KuravanjS ; 
and  was  Director,  School  of  Dance,  Music  Academy, 

Publication  :          Bharatanatyam 

Honours  &  Titles         :          Sangeet  Natak  Akademy  Award  1 955 

Padma  Bhushan  1 957 

Padma  Vibhushan 

Hony.  Doctoral  degree  by  Rabhindra 

Bharati  University  1 964 

Sangita  Kalanidhi  by  Music  Academy,  Madras    1973 

Hony.  Degree  of  Desikothama  (D.  Lit.) 

by  Viswa  Bharati,  Shantiniketan  1 978 

The  Oscar  Award-holder  the  late  lamented  Bharat  Ratna  Satyajit  Ray  had 
brought  out  a  documentary  titled  'BALA',  a  rare  tribute  indeed. 

The  rigour  of  the  discipline  of  dance  is  annulled  by  the  joy  of  its  Beauty/ 

What  an  epigrammatist  she  was  ! 


A  post-graduate  in  mathematics,  Balasubramanian  had  his  training  in  music 
with  his  father  K.A.  Kasi  Bhagavatar  and  M.Chandrasekharan,  the  prominent 
violinist.  He  had  taken  part  in  several  music  competitions  held  by  the  Music 
Academy  and  the  Krishna  Gana  Sabha,  Madras  and  got  awards.  Accompanies 
senior  artistes  with  competency  and  is  a  Staff  Artiste  with  the  All  India  Radio, 

Concert  tour  :  U.S.A. 

MADURAI  M.  BALASUBRAMANIAM  -  VOCALIST:  (b.  July  21, 1931) 

Place  of  birth  :          Dindigul  (famous  for  its  lock  industry  !) 

Parents  ;          L  Meenakshisundaram  Iyer  and  Anandavalli  Ammal. 


General  qualification  &         B.A.,  B.T.  Teacher,  P.S.  High  School  (North),  Madras  - 
Occupation.  :  since  retired. 

Training  in  music        :         Nagaswara  Vidwan  Ramachandra  Reddiar  -  five  years. 

Dr.  M.  Balamurali  Krishna  -  20  years  from  1 963. 

Debut  :         At  Nagpur  for  Nagpur  Fine  Arts  on  February  24, 1 968. 

Title  :         Ganakaladhara  from  SDSB  Samaj,  Arani. 

Has  been  giving  performances  for  the  All  India  Radio,  Sabhas  and  Doordar- 
shan  (Pamalai  and  Isai  Arangam  programmes).  Born  in  a  family  of  musicians 
and  musical  discoursers,  Madurai  Balasubramaniam  has  a  special  inclination 
for  rare  ragas  and  compositions  and  in  his  presentation  of  songs,  he  lays  clear 
emphasis  on  the  meaning  of  the  sahitya,  i.e.  the  sahitya  bhava. 


Born  at  Tiruvarur,  sanctified  by  the  birth  of  the  Carnatic  Trinity,  in  a  musical 
family,  S.  Balasubramaniam  had  his  initial  training  both  in  vocal  and  in  violin 
under  his  father-violinist,  S,  Subba  Ayyar,  He  had  further  intensive  training 
under  distinguished  masters,  viz., 

Madurai  Brothers  (Srinivasa  Ayyangar  and  Srirangam  Ayyangar)  for  about  5  years, 
Srirangam  Ayyangar  -  advanced  studies, 

Madurai  Mani  Ayyar  -  special  compositions  and 

Kumbakonam  Rajamanickam  Pillai         -  on  violin  expertise. 

Balasubramian  has  been  giving  vocal  concerts  on  the  All  India  Radio  and 
elsewhere  and  has  also  served  as  Professor  in  Violin  at  the  Kalakshetra  during 
1990-1992.  He  has  been  training  many  disciples. 

BASAVANNA  -  COMPOSER;  (b- 1125.  A.D.) 

Son  of  Madarasa  and  Madulambika  and  nephew  of  Baladeva,  Prime  Minister 
to  King  Vijjala  of  the  Kalyani  Chalukyas,  Vrishabheshwara,  as  Basavanna  was 
initially  called,  had  his  studies  under  Jathaveda  Muni  and  grew  up  fast  in  wisdom 
and  original  thinking.  Born  in  a  brahmin  family  of  some  influence  at 
Basavanabagewadi  in  Bijapur  district,  he  chose  to  become  a  Koodalsangama 
devotee  and  promoted  Veera  Saiva  cult  with  vigour.  He  too  became  a  minister 
under  Vijjala  but  left  it  to  pursue  his  religious  inclinations  and  propagate  Bakthi 
and  Achara.  His  compositions  known  as  "Basava  Vachanas'  are  couched  in 
easy,  facile  language  and  enjoy  in  kannada  the  importance  given  to  Vemanna 
V/ac/?a/?ainteIugu  and  Tirukkural \ntam\\.  His  signature  was  'Koodala  Sangama 
Deva'  and  he  is  also  called  as  Bhakti  Bhandari  and  Jagat  jyothi. 


The  late  Mallikarjun  Mansur  is  reputed  to  have  adapted  vachanas  for  his 
classical  music  concerts  and  made  them  popular.  His  concerts  would  bring  in 
at  least  one  of  them. 


VENKATESH  (b.  1933) 

SESHAGiRI  (b.  1935) 

Father  Raghavendrachar  hailed  from  a  family  of  Pauranikas  -  discoursers 
on  ancient  spiritual  lore,  Narasimhachar,  the  eldest  son  learnt  music  from  his 
father  and,  in  his  turn,  taught  the  youngsters  Venkatesh  and  Seshagiri. 
Raghavendrachar  was  a  musician  with  pedagogic  talents  and  was  Music 
Teacher,  Queen  Mary's  College,  Madras  and  was  later  President, 
Rayalaseema  Music  Examination  Board. 

Venkatesh  and  Seshagiri  were  fourteen  and  twelve  when  they  made  their 
debut  and  have  been  giving  concerts  on  the  All  India  Radio  and  at  other  places. 
They  are  noted  for  their  innovative  raga  elaboration  and  traditional  expertise. 
Seshagiri  later  joined  the  Bangalore  University  as  Professor. 

BHARATHA  -  PATRIARCH  OF  INDIAN  MUSIC:  (c.  400  B.C.  -  200  A.D.) 

Indian  Music  and  Dance  have  a  hoary  antiquity  with  an  unending  chain  of 
musicologists  and  musicians  drawing  inspiration  initially  from  Sama  Veda.  It  is 
relevant  to  mention  that  there  seems  to  have  been  another  musicologist  of 
eminence  bearing  the  same  name  in  ancient  Tamil  Nadu,  which  has  had  an 
equally  ancient  musical  system  from  pre-historic  times.  When  Indian  music 
slowly  came  under  the  influence  of  the  Persian  from  the  eleventh  century,  Indian 
musical  system  came  to  be  confined  to  South  India.  Though  both  the  North 
and  the  South  have  still  the  same  raga-oriented  music,  North  has  the  Hindustani 
style  and  the  South  has  the  Carnatic  style.  ('Carnatic'  is  a  word  which  means 
ancient  or  peninsular  India.)  Successive  musicologists  have  not  only  codified 
prevailing  theory  and  practice  but  have  injected  improvements,  precision  and 
clarity.  Ravages  of  time  and  distance,  successive  invasions  by  unmusical 
hordes  and  wanton  criminal  destruction  and  looting  of  art,  architecture,  sculpture 
and  sacred  and  irreplaceable  works  have  gone  on  from  the  11th  to  the  19th 
century  resulting  in  the  loss  of  precious  treasures  of  ageless  worth.  In  their 
anxiety  to  save  sacred  gifts  from  the  marauding  tribes,  several  works  were 
secreted  in  the  labyrinthine  bosom  of  gardens,  temples  and  maths  and  ultimately 
lost  track  of  and  lost  Fortunately  India  had  developed  the  proud  asset  of  oral 


transmission  of  scriptures,  etc.,  and  the  unique  system  had  helped  in  preserving 
the  extant  works.  This  was  aided  by  another,  the  unique  system  of  gurukuiavasa 
and  the  few  surviving  isolated  manuscripts  had  been  preserved  by  knowledge- 
able men, 

Bharata  Sastra  (named  after  its  author)  or  the  Natya  Sastra  is  the  earliest 
such  treasure  that  is  available.  Thirty-six  chapters,  six  thousand  couplets  in 
Sanskrit  and  a  few  passages  in  prose  present  matchless  evidence  of  the  highly 
developed  art  then.  Chapters  28  to  33  are  on  music  and  the  rest  are  on  dance. 
1648  slokas  deal  with  music,  tala,  etc.,  as  applied  to  drama.  He  has  taken  the 
plots  for  dramas  from  Rig  Veda,  music  from  Sama  Veda,  acting  from  Yajur  Veda 
and  aesthetics  from  Atharva  Veda.  It  is  evident  that  drama  with  music  had 
flourished  in  the  Vedic  period.  Bharata  has  arranged  22  shrutis  on  the  basis  of 
the  five  basic  minutae  tones  terming  them  as  '/arts' or  'adharas'oi  the  22  shrutis. 
R.  Rangaramanuja  Ayyangar  observes; 

1  Bharata  was  a  fountain  of  knowledge,  a  rare  genius  who  became  a  legendary  figure 
with  a  hundred  sons  to  propagate  Natya  Sastra.  In  the  light  of  a  popular  belief  that  the 
work  was  a  synthesis  of  several  contributors,  the  author's  name  being  only  a  mnemonic 
for  Bhava,  Raga  and  Tala...  Written  2500  years  ago,  it  is  the  document  of  supreme 
educative  value.  The  overall  picture  of  music  in  Natya  Sastra  has  apparently  not  much 
in  common  with  Carnatic  Music  of  the  present  day,,. It  was  left  to  Sarngadeva  to 
resuscitate  it  after  eighteen  centuries, ' 

Note:  Mention  of  the  hundred  sons  should  presumably  mean  only  a 
hundred  disciples  since  Indian  scriptures  extol  good  disciples  as  sons  of  the 
guru.  It  would  seem  that  Bharata  would  not  have  challenged 
Dhritarashtra's  title  and  eminence  in  the  matter  of  the  number  of  children! 

FLS.  Nagar  pointedly  brings  to  notice  that  Natya  Sastra  was  not  available  to 
modern  scholars  until  it  was  discovered  by  Fitz  Edward  Hall,  an  American 
Indologist  in  1865  and  thus  saved  the  great  work  from  oblivion,  H.H.  Wilson, 
unable  to  secure  the  Natya  Sastra,  deplored  earlier  that  the  work,  so  honoured 
and  so  frequently,  had  been  lost  for  ever.  That  has  been  the  bane  of  vandalism 
of  man  and  time. 

Some  later  writers  have  made  reference  to  Adi  Bharata  or  Vrddhabharata. 
Abhinavagupta  is  said  to  have  discarded  the  idea  of  composite  authorship 
stating  that  the  whole  work  was  the  work  of  one  and  only  author.  S.K.  Dey  has, 
however,  opined  that  the  work  was  completed  or  recast  at  some  later  date  in 
accordance  with  the  views  of  Nandikeswara.  M.R.  Kavi  had  remarked  that- 
Bharata's  work  had  undergone  much  variations  and  Abhinavabharati  itself 
mentions  that  there  were  two  recensions  of  the  Natya  Sastra.  In  view  of  the  fact 
that  it  is  the  oldest  known  work  of  considerable  repute  and  authority,  it  is  possible 
that  minor  interpolations  had  crept  in  as  in  the  case  of  many  other  works  and 
compositions.  But,  as  Prof.  R.  Sathyanarayan&  says, 


1  In  view  of  the  reference  to  Bharata  reverentially  as  a  Muni  and  as  Bhagavan  by  such 
eminent  authorities  as  Matanga,  Sarngadeva,  Simha  Bhupala  and  Kallinadha,  doubts 
about  the  integrity  of  the  work  do  not  appear  to  be  valid.  Literary  evidence  and  unity  in 
planning  and  presentation  suggest  only  a  single  authorship'. 

Bharata  is  known  to  tradition  as  Sutrakara. 

TIRUVIDAIMARUDUR  BHAVAN1  -  VOCALIST;  (20th  Century  - 1  half.) 

Bhavani  took  to  music  at  the  late  age  of  twenty-five  but  rose  up  to  the  top 
soon.  High-pitched  voice,  fast-moving  rendition,  enormous  capability  for  load- 
ing her  rendition  with  birkas  and  'akaram'  marked  her  concerts  and  she  would 
cover  songs  in  different  languages  and  revel  in  tillana.  Her  ringing  voice  was 
her  forte.  She  is  credited  with  introducing  kannada  javalis  at  concerts  in  India  . 

PALLAVI  BHIMACHAR  -  VOCALIST:  (19th  Century  II  Half) 

A  contemporary  of  Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar,  Pallavi  Bhimachar  was  a 
disciple  of  Andananallur  Subbier.  His  son  and  disciple  Srinivasa  Rao  specialised 
in  singing  Dasar  Padas  and  was  famous  for  it.  Soolamangalam  Vaidyanatha 
Bhagavatar  writes  that  Bhimachar  excelled  in  his  rendition  of  pallavis  and  that 
he  was  very  popular.  Bhimachar  hailed  from  Tiruchirappalli  district. 


Son  of  K.Y.  Pillayya,  a  tabla  vidwan,  Bhuvanaswamayya  had  his  training  in 
music  under  Pudukottai  Subramania  Ayyar,  Chintlapalli  Venkata  Rao  and  his 
son  Ramachandra  Rao.  Illness  at  the  age  of  sixteen  forced  him  to  take  to  violin. 
Had  his  training  under  the  senior  violinist  R.R.  Keshavamurty  and  his  first 
concert  was  at  the  Rama  Mandira  started  by  Bidaram  Krishnappa  at  Mysore. 
Bhuvanaswamayya  has  provided  accompaniment  to  distinguished  vocalists  like 
Chembai  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar  and  Alathur  Brothers  and  the  violinist  maestro 
T.  Chowdiah.  He  has  been  appearing  on  the  All  India  Radio  since  his  twenty- 
second  year.  Known  for  his  rich,  innovative  play  and  pleasing  sound,  he  has 
helped  many  good  and  great  causes.  He  was  always  interested  in  keeping  his 
receptive  musical  inclinations  open  to  listen  and  assimilate  the  best  in  others. 

Concert  tours  :          Singapore  and  Malaysia. 


T.  BRINDA  -  VOCALIST  &  VAINIKA:  (b.  November  5, 1912) 

Grand  daughter  of  the  legendary  vainika,  Dhanammal  and  daughter  of 
Kamaikshi  Ammal,  Brinda  was  bred  in  the  evergreen  nursery  of  vibrant  clas- 
sicism in  Carnatic  music.  Imbibed  the  Dhanam  tradition  of  melody  from 
Dhanammal  herself  and  her  daughters.  She  is  the  eloquent  inheritor  of  its  grace 
and  charm.  This  view  finds  support  from  the  fact  that  the  institution 
'Sampradaya'  arranged  for  a  six  months'  special  training  course  at  Madras  on 
Dhanam  Classical  tradition  to  be  handled  by  T.  Brinda  and  T.  Viswanathan,  a 
scion  of  the  same  nursery.  She  had  absorbed  enough  music  at  home  to  elaborate 
ragas  when  at  the  age  of  nine  she  entered  on  gurukulavasa  under  Kanchipuram 
Naina  Pillai.  Mukta,  her  younger  sister  accompanied.  But  'actually  Brinda  learnt 

directly  from  the  maestro  and  Mukta  kept  the  sruti  (harmonium)'.  Mukta  says: 


Grandmother  Dhanammai  was  none  too  pleased  at  our  being  sent  to  Naina  Pillai  as  if 
no  music  was  available  at  home.  Further  Dhanammal's  music  was  like  honeyfall,  soft 
and  sweet  and  she  wanted  our  music  to  be  soft  and  feminine.  She  disliked  women 
indulging  in  swara  fireworks  and  feared  that  it  would  happen  if  we  learnt  music  under 
Pillai.  ' 

Brinda  made  her  debut  with  Mukta  as  support  at  the  Tyagaraja  Festival, 
Kanchipuram  which  was  celebrated  annually  by  Naina  Pillai.  Though  Mukta  did 
not  undergo  the  rigorous  training,  she  had  assimilated  enough  by  constantly 
hearing  the  master  and  his  ward  (Brinda)  and  the  Brinda-Mukta  combine  was 
a  prominent  duo  for  four  decades,  till  Brinda's  daughter  and  vocalist, 
Vegavauhini  joined  to  sing  with  Brinda.  Thus  Brinda  has  over  seventy  years' 
solid  credit  as  a  performing  artiste  of  merit.  She  enjoys  a  vast  repertoire  of  kritis, 
padas  and  javalis  and  several  claim  to  have  studied  under  her  though  some  of 
the  claims  might  not  conform  to  fact,  it  is  said. 

For  exquisite  rendition  of  padams,  Brinda  has  a  name  and  for  the  Music 
Academy,  Madras,  she  brought  out  a  publication  of  javalis  in  1 965  but  she  feels 
that  several  performing  artistes  do  not  adhere  to  the  proper  paddhati.  Semman- 
gudi  Dr.  Srinivasa  Ayyar  states  that  when  Ariyakudi  Ramanuja  Ayyangarand  he 
heard  Brinda  once,  the  former  said, 

'  When  women  sing  padams,  it  is  mellifluous  ; 
See,  how  beautifully  Brinda  has  handled  them  ! ' 

Ayyar  could  not  stop  with  the  joy  of  hearing.  At  the  suggestion  of  the 
Maharani  of  Travancore,  he  learnt  in  three  days  three  javalis  and  three  padams 
from  Brinda!  (Three  is  Ayyar's  lucky  number  perhaps!)  Here  is  another  tribute 
from  another  veteran,  R.  Vedavalli  who  states  that  her  guru  Mudicondan 
Venkatarama  Ayyar  used  to  tell  his  disciples, 

'  See,  how  Brinda  keeps  her  voice  sweet  inspite  of  advancing  age. 
You  should  take  a  lesson  from  her. ' 


These  tributes  to  Brinda's  musical  expertise  and  acumen  find  reflection  in 
the  titles  and  honours  conferred  on  her. 

Titles  &  Honours         :         Sangit  Natak  Akademy  Award  -1965 

Sangita  Kalanidhi  from  Music  Academy,  Madras   -1977 
Sanglta  Sikhamani  from  Indian  Fine  Arts  Society, 


Swaralaya  Pushkaram  by  Pushkaram  1 992 

Posts  held  :          Professor,  Central  College  of  Camatic  Music,  Madras 


Visiting  Professor,  University  of  Washington,  Seattle, 

USA -Two  terms 
Visiting  Professor,  California  University,  U.S.A.  - 

Two  months. 

Brinda  has  given  concerts  in  U.S.A.  and  she  was  not  interested  in  giving 
discs.  She  has  been  training  many  in  Veena  also. 


The  concert  was  on. 

*  I  wonder  why  the  vocalist  exhibits  his  teeth  so  often  !  * 
6  Gratitude!  Concert  sponsored  by  a  Tooth  Brush  company.  ' 

*        *        it 


Rehearsal  was  on.  The  second  violinist  inadvertently  grazed  the  string  next  to  the  one 
he  intended  to  play.  It  was  almost  inaudible.  But  Toscanini,  the  conductor  stopped  the 
orchestra,  pointed  his  baton  at  the  culprit  and  cried  out  sharply  — 

*  One  string  will  be  quite  enough,  if  you  please/ 
(Sruti  suddham,  apaswarain,  sruti  bhedam  rarely  escape  the  keen  ear  of  stalwarts.) 

*     *     * 

American  composer  George  Gershwin  died.  A  sentimental  admirer  wrote  an  elegy 
and  rendered  the  piece  before  Oscar  Levant  for  his  approbation.  How  was  it  given? 

*  I  think  it  would  have  been  better  if  you  were  dead  and 
Gershwin  had  written  the  elegy  !  '. 


R.  CHANDRASEKHARIAH  -  VOCALIST:  (b.  June  4, 1915) 

'Mysore  Brothers1  are  prominent  torch-bearers  of  Carnatic  music  and 
Chandrasekhariah  is  the  eldest.  Father  B.  Ramaiah  was  a  vidwan;  and  mother, 
Vidushi  Varalakshmi  was  his  guru.  She  was  a  vainika  and  vocalist,  in  grateful 
memory  of  her,  Chandrasekhariah  and  his  brother  founded  in  1945  'Sri 
Varalakshmi  Academies  of  Fine  Arts',  Mysore  providing  facilities  for  trainjng  in 
music.  Born  at  Mysore  he  had  training  under  Pallavi  Ramalingayya  also  and 
has  been  giving  numerous  concerts  as  one  of  Mysore  Brothers  ever  since  he 
made  his  debut  in  1929  at  the  Mysore  Jain  Hostel.  Was  giving  concerts  on  the 
All  India  Radio  during  1 937  to  1 965.  An  expert  in  pallavi  singing,  he  had  taught 
music  through  the  Academies  to  thousands  of  pupils  including  foreigners. 
Prof.  Visweswaran,  his  brother,  is  referred  to  at  page  438  of  'A  Garland  '. 
Another  brother  is  Dr.  R,  Sathyanarayana,  a  musicologist. 

Chandrasekhariah  is  also  a  reputed  composer  of  about  three  hundred  kritis, 
tillanas,  etc.,  in  kannada,  telugu  and  Sanskrit  besides  the  'One  hundred  and  eight 
Mahamarga  Tala  Pallavi'  He  sang  and  demonstrated  it  himself  at  Madras,  etc. 
Dr.  Sampathkumaracharya  describes  him  as  one  of  the  foremost  of  vag- 
geyakaras  and  musicians.  His  compositions  are  brought  out  in  seven  samputas, 
the  first  four  having  been  released. 

Chandrasekhariah  was  /  is  naturally  connected  with  various  organisations 
such  as: 

The  Central  Sangeet  Natak  Akademy 

State  Sangeetha  Natak  Academy 

Government  of  Kamataka  Advisory  Board  on  Music,  Drama  &  Dance 

Chairman,  Music  Vidwat  Examinations. 

Titles  and  Honours  : 

It  is  a  hefty  list,  the  eminent  composer-artiste  having  graced  many  conferen- 
ces, etc.  More  important  among  them  are  : 

Natya  Sastra  Kovida  All  India  Natya  Kala  Conference  1 957 

Asthana  Vidwan  Mysore  State  1 973 

Gana  Vidya  Vachaspati  Brahma  Tantra  Parakala  Maha  Samsthanam  1 974 

Sangeetha  Choodamanl  Kanchana  Vidwat  Sabha  1 974 

Sangeetha  Ratnakara  H. H.  Sankaracharya,  Sringeri  1 974 

Sangeetha  Saraswati  Avani  Sringeri  Sankaracharya  1 975 

Sangeetha  Sudhakara  Akhila  Karnataka  Musicians'  Sanmana  Samithi  1 98O 

Gana  Ratnakara  Sri  Vasudevacharya  Sangeetha  Sammelana  1 981 

Sangeetha  Kala  Thilaka  State  Academy  Award  1 982 

Samvit  Sangeeth  Kalasekhara  H.H.  Sankaracharya  Kashi  Dakshinamurti  Peeta  1983 

__      Sangeetha  Kala  Nidhi  Sangeetha  Nrtya  Parishat  of  Karnataka  1 985 

Kala  Bhooshana  1 6th  Conference  of  Tyagaraja  Ganasabha, 

Bangalore.  1 987 

Award  Karnataka  Nrtya  Academy  1 991  -92 

Concert  Tours: 

U.K.,  Europe.  (Concerts  and  discourses  on  Indian  Music  and  Culture,) 


P.T.  CHELLADURAI  S.J.  -  MUSICOLOGIST  (b.  August  16, 1935) 

Place  of  birth  ;  A       Sivagangai 

Parents  :          V.  Ignatius  &  Thomai  Ponnamal 

Academic  M.A.,  B.T.  and  D.Lit  from  Diandra  University  (Italy) 

Qualifications  : 

Musical  Training          ;          Diploma  in  Indian  Music,  University  of  Madras  (1 969-71) 

Sangita  Vidwan  Diploma,  Tamil  Nadu  Government 
Music  College  (1974-76) 

Cheiladurai  is  a  disciple  of  Tiruppamburam  S.  Shanmughasundaram,  Prin- 
cipal, Government  Music  Training  Centre,  Madras.  A  Catholic  priest  of  the 
Society  of  Jesus,  he  made  his  debut  at  St.  Bede's  Auditorium,  Madras  on  June 
11,  1971  in  the  presence  of  Prof.  P.  Sambamurti.  He  is  Assistant  Professor  of 
Musicology  and  Musical  Pedagogy  in  the  Tamil  Nadu  Government  Music  Train- 
ing Centre,  Madras  since  1984.  Earlier  he  was  part-time  Principal,  Evening 
Music  Course  of  the  same  institution  during  1982-84  and  Research  Scholar  in 
Music  under  the  Tamil  Nadu  Government  during  1983-84. 

Cheiladurai  has  authored  two  good  and  very  useful  books: 

i.  Tennaga  Isai  Eyal  for  the  benefit  of  teachers  and  students  of  music, 
ii.  The  Splendour  of  South  Indian  Music  for  the  benefit  of  University  students. 

The  first  book  has  received  a  State  Award. 

He  has  the  credit  of  bringing  out  three  cassettes  presenting  Christian  bhajans 
and  keerthanas  in  1980-81  all  set  in  classical  tunes.  He  conducts  a  Summer 
School  of  Carnatic  Music  since  1 974. 


Father  :          Mantri  Sampathkumarachariar  of  Melukottai. 

Musical  training          :          Started  his  training  with  his  father  in  his  ninth  year. 

Then  from  his  fifteenth  year,  underwent  training  with  the 
famous  Namakkal  Narasimha  Ayyangar's  disciple 
Ramaswami  Ayyangar  at  Tanjore  and  then  with  Bidaram 
Krishnappa.  Finally  he  took  the  Sangita  Bhushanam 
diploma  from  the  Annamalai  University  in  1934. 

Chellapillai  lyengar  was  not  only  a  good  vocalist  but  was  also  a  good  teacher. 
Has  been  contributing  articles  on  music.  He  popularised  the  singing  of  the 
Navavarna  kritis  during  the  Navarathiri  at  Mysore  and  the  practice  acquired 
permanence  under  instructions  of  the  Maharajah.  During  1 942-75,  the  vocalist 
was  working  with  the  Akashvani  as  artiste.  T.N.  Seshagopalan  is  said  to  be  his 


N.  CHENNAKESAVIAH  -  VOCALIST  &  MUSICOLOGIST:        (Novr.7, 1895  - 


'His  singing  is  ever  reverberating  in  my  ears.  An  able  teacher  in  theory  and 
practice  of  music',  said  Varadachariar,  of  N.  Chennakesaviah,  son  and  disciple 
of  Natanahalli  Kesaviah,  a  musician. 

Chennakesaviah  underwent  training  later  with  Mysore  K.Vasudevacharya 
and  made  his  debut  in  1924.  He  was  a  school  teacher  but  this  profession  only 
helped  in  shaping  his  destiny  in  music  on  firm  lines.  He  had  given  concerts  on 
the  All  India  Radio  and  at  important  places  in  India.  He  was  Samasthana 
Vidwan,  Mysore  during  1944-1 957,  when  the  Palace  discontinued  the  system  of 
patronage  as  a  measure  of  economy.  Chennakesaviah  was  Member  of  the  All 
India  Radio  Audition  Board,  Board  of  Examiners  and  the  Experts  Committee  of 
the  Music  Academy,  Madras. 

Compositions  &  Publications: 

He  has  composed  many  songs  and  has  published  seventeen  of  them  with 
notation.  Has  published  many  articles  and  books  on  Raga  Alapana  Paddhati 
and  Tana  Mattu  Pallavi  and  on  the  compositions  of  Mysore  Sadashiva  Rao.  He 
was  a  regular  contributor  to  the  Journal  of  the  Music  Academy,  Madras. 

Titles  &  Honours: 

Mysore  State  Sangeetha  Nataka  Academy  Award  1 968 

Mysore  State  Rajyotsava  Award  1 971 


Karur  has  inherited  a  distinguished  musical  legacy.  The  eminent  composer 
Kavi  Mathrubhutayya,  author  of  the  opera  'Parijathapaharana  Nataka' started  a 
distinguished  line  of  violinists,  Chinnaswami  Ayyar,  a  grandson  on  the  maternal 
side  inherited  a  musical  legacy  on  his  father's  side  too.  Father  Narasayya  was 
a  violin  vidwan.  Chinnaswami  Ayyar  learnt  violin  from  his  brother  Chinna 
Devudu  Ayyar  of  the  Karur  Quartette.  A  staunch  sampradaya  vidwan,  he  had 
accompanied  top  artistes.  Two  Sangita  Kalanidhis  (  his  son  and  renowned 
violinist  Papa  Venkataramiah  and  Musiri  Subramania  Ayyar)  were  among  his 

The  Music  Academy,  Madras  conferred  on  him  the  title  of  'Sangita  Kalanidhi' 
in  1 950.  Sangeet  Natak  Akademy  Award  was  conferred  in  1 966. 



The  play  of  Das  Swamigal  resembled  the  style  of  Narayanaswami  Appa. 
Supremely  independent  and  rough,  he  treated  Man  and  Money  alike  -  perhaps 
a  virtue  by  itself.  Prone  to  paraphernalia  in  harmony  with  his  character,  he  would 
play  with  such  subtlety  and  mischievous  digressions  and  perplexing  permuta- 
tions that  his  accompaniment  was  taken  to  mean  'Caveat  Musician'.  When  he 
is  not  that  usual  self,  his  play  was  remarkably  good.  When  he  once  accom- 
panied Poochi  Srinivasa  Ayyangar,  his  play  was  deeply  appreciated  by  Pan- 
dithurai  Thevar  of  Ramnad  and  he  was  presented  with  a  diamond  ring. 

DATTILA  -  MUSICOLOGIST:  (c.  200  B-C.  -  200  A.D.) 

Dattila  is  said  to  be  a  dimunitive  of  Devadatta,  In  his  work  Vattilam',  he 
mentions  Narada,  Kohala  and  Visakhila  as  his  preceptors.  (Dattila  is  named  as 
a  son  of  Bharata,  it  is  said,  in  Natya  S&stra.)  The  exact  period  of  Dattila  is  not 
known.  Dattilam  has  been  translated  into  hindi  by  Kalinda  published  from 
Hathras.  There  is  another  titled  Dattilam  -  A  Compendium  of  Ancient  Indian 
Music'  by  Emmie  Te  Nijenhuis  of  Netherlands.  Mukund  Lath  has  again  brought 
out  the  work  with  full  commentaries  in  1978-lmpex  India,  New  Delhi.  A  small 
work  in  aphoristic  form  called  Ragasagaram  specifically  deals  with  Gandharva 
Vedasaram,  i.e.,  the  area  of  ancient  music  called  'Gandharva1  a  sacred  form 
stated  to  be  born  of  Sama.  While  Natya  Sastra  treats  Gandharva  as  one  of  the 
forms,  Dattilam  is  an  independent  treatise  on  it  alone.  An  expert  in  the  science 
of  tala,  Dattila  is  widely  quoted.  Prof.  R.  Satyanarayana  states  that  Dattilam  is 
only  a  condensation  and  that  the  original  should  have  been  very  elaborate. 


A  contemporary  of  King  Shahaji  of  Tanjore,  Devaraja  Wodeyar  of  Mysore 
was  a  veena  artiste.  He  brought  out  the  tenets  of  Sri  Vaishnava  faith  in  his 
kannada  saptapadi  'Gitagopala'  on  the  model  of  the  ashtapadi  'Gita  Govinda' 
with  82  kannada  songs  and  one  in  telugu.  Kamboji  was  his  favourite  raga  with 
27  songs.  He  was  hailed  as  'Aparimita'  and  as  'Navakoti  Narayana'. 




They  belonged  to  Syama  Sastri  disciple-line.  Kamakshi  Ammal  was 
Kanchipuram  Naina  Pillai's  mother  and  T.  Mukta's  guru  in  a  way.  The  sisters  had 
powerful  resonant  voice  and  their  concerts  were  gripping  and  popular.  Puducheri 
Rangaswami  Ayyar  gave  them  advanced  training  in  the  intricaies  and  nuances 
of  rendition  at  concerts.  They  were  adepts  in  pallavi  rendition  -  a  rare  feat  for 
musicians  of  the  fair  sex.  They  enjoyed  an  immense  repertoire. 


(b.  JuneS,  1899) 

Place  of  birth  :         Nyamathi  in  Karnataka 

Parents  :         B,S.  Ramaiah  &  Thulasamma 

Musical  training  under :         B.S.  Ramaiah,  Bidaram  Krishnappa,  Seshanna, 

Subbanna  &  T.  Narayana  lyengar  —  a  galaxy  of  eminent 
vocalists  and  vainikas. 

Posts  held  :  ;         Chairman,  Standing  Committee,  Mysore  Sangeet  Natak 


Member,  Board  of  Studies  in  Music,  Mysore  University  , 
Court  Musician,  Mysore. 

Publications  ;         Purandaradasa  Kriti  Darpana 

Kanakadasa  Kirtana  Sudambhudi. 
Concert  tour  :         China 

Honours  ;         Sangeet  Natak  Akademy  Award. 

Publications  :         Songs  of  Purandaradasa  and  Kanakadasa. 

A  noted  vocalist  and  a  prominent  jalatarangam   artiste   of   Karnataka, 
Devendrappa  was  versatile  with  violin,  sitar,  dilruba  and  tabla. 

M.R.  DORAISWAMY  -  FLAUTIST:  (b.  April  25,  1922) 

Born  at  Chickmagalur,  of  Ramachandra  Ayyar,  Doraiswamy  enhanced  his 
musical  instincts  by  constant  exposure  to  classical  music  in  gramaphone  records 
and  later  with  training  under  Narasinga  Rao,  before  joining  the  Central  College 
of  Carnatic  Music,  Madras  in  1938.  He  got  his  diploma  with  rank.  Made  his 
debut  in  1938  itself.  Has  been  giving  a  large  number  of  concerts.  In  1962,  he 
joined  the  Ayyianar  College,  Bangalore  as  music  teacher  and  became  its  Vice- 
Principal.  Doraiswamy's  expert  knowledge  and  technical  perfection  helped  in 
his  concerts  being  satisfying  and  crisp  with  sruti  and  laya  alignment. 

Concert  Tour :  U.S.S.R. 


SALEM  DORESWAMI  AYYANGAR  -  VOCALIST:    (July  1890  -  Dec.20, 1952) 

Salem  Doreswami  Ayyangar  was  the  favourite  disdiple  of  Ramnad  (Poochi) 
Srinivasa  Ayyangar.  When  Mysore  Vasudevacharya  visited  the  home  of  the 
guru,  Doreswami  Ayyangar  was  sitting  by  the  side  of  his  guru  tuning  the 
tamboora,  the  other  disciples  listening  to  the  guru  singing  the  Begada  varnam 
'Marachitlundedi  Meragadura'.  When  the  guru  turned  to  his  prime  disciple,  the 
latter  went  in  and  brought  a  heapful  of  idlies  and  a  pot  of  ghee.  The  guru  was 
a  glutton  both  in  food  and  in  music.  Vasudevacharya  was  surprised  to  see 
Srinivasa  Ayyangar  gulping  down  twenty-five  idlies  fully  drenched  and  soaked 
in  ghee  and  a  potful  of  coffee  to  be  followed  up  by  pupils!  Once  at  midnight 
Doreswami  was  missing  from  his  room  and  after  intensive  search,  the  guru  found 
him  near  a  pond  practising  at  that  nocturnal  hour  full-throated  his  song  in  raga 
Purvikalyani  'Paramapavana  Rama'.  A  shiver  went  down  his  spine  as  he  had 
reprimanded  Doreswami  earlier  that  day  for  not  practising  the  kirtana  satisfac- 
torily. When  he  touched  Dore,  he  was  not  even  conscious  of  the  touch, 
immersed  as  he  was  in  his  Purvikalyani  in  that  calm  and  serene  atmosphere 
when  solemn  stillness  ruled.  Doreswami  opened  his  eyes  only  when  water  was 
sprinkled  on  his  face.  The  guru  hugged  him  fondly  and  from  that  day,  he  made 
Doreswami  take  his  bed  by  his  side!  Poochi  was  fond  of  his  disciples  doing 

Parents  :          Gopala  Ayyangar  and  Seshammal  (Patnam  Srinivasa 

Ayyangar,  his  grandfather  was  an  educationist.) 

Was  born  at  :          Abhinavam  in  Salem  district. 

Leaving  his  home  at  the  age  of  nine,  he  had  a  brief  training  under  Sarabha 
Sastri.  As  his  health  was  then  failing  Sarabha  recommended  him  to  Poochi 
Srinivasa  Ayyangar  when  he  had  completed  the  Ata  tala  Kalyani  varnam. 

Doreswami  Ayyangar  covered  the  distance  from  Kumbakonam  to 
Ramanathapuram  on  foot  and  Poochi  Srinivasa  Ayyangar  was  glad  to  take  him 
as  a  disciple.  Bhaskara  Sethupati  of  Ramnad  sanctioned  a  monthly  stipend  of 
Rs.fifty  for  the  purpose.  From  1 901  to  1 919,  Doreswami  Ayyangar  had,  perhaps, 
the  longest  tenure  of  gurukulavasa,  doing  the  domestic  chores  for  his  guru  and 
following  him  to  his  concerts  too.  In  1921  on  the  Vijaya  Dasami  day,  he  made 
his  debut  before  Bhaskara  Sethupati  with  top  accompanists  Tirukkodikaval 
Krishna  Ayyar  on  violin,  Azhaganambi  Pillai  on  mridangam  and  Mamundia  Pillai 
on  kanjira.  He  shifted  to  Madras  and  then  to  Salem.  Was  giving  quite  a  large 
number  of  concerts.  Krishnarajendra  Wodeyar  was  captivated  by  his  rendition 
and  offered  him  the  post  of  asthana  vidwan  which  Ayyangar  did  not  accept.  He 
was  hailed  as  an  'Uthama  Gayaka1. 

In  1926,  Sri  Purandaradasa  MahotsavaSabha,  Coimbatore  conferred  on  him 
the  title  of  'Gana  Sikhamani',  when  he  gave  a  delectable  concert  with  Mysore 


Chowdiah  and  Palghat  Mani  as  accompanists.  He  was  on  the  Experts  Commit- 
tee of  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  and  his  views  were  appreciated. 

Among  his  disciples,  his  son  Salem  Chellam  Ayyangar  is  now  a  performing 
vidwan  and  is  in  the  Kalakshetra  College  of  Fine  Arts,  Madras. 

Disc  recordings. 


In  the  early  part  of  this  century,  there  was  a  craze  for  english  notes.  Palladam 
Sanjeeva  Rao  handled  them  quite  often  as  flute  was  eminently  suited  for  english  notes. 
Madurai  Mani-Ayyar's  style  of  rendition  of  english  notes  had  a  special  aesthetic  quality 
and  so  he  consistently  included  them  in  his  concerts. 


*  God  is  partial  to  woman  in  giving  them  a  lovely  voice/ 

-T.  Sankaran. 

4  Even  braying  should  be  done  by  female  asses,  not  by  the  male/ 

—  Tirumalai  Naidu. 

*      *     * 


Gottuvadyam  Narayana  Ayyangar  died  while  singing  the  song  '  Mokshamu  Galada  ' 
at  the  All  India  Radio,  Bangalore. 

Veena  C  Krishnamurty  died  while  he  was  teaching. 

Flautist  P.  Sabhesan  died  while  performing  at  the  Tyagaraja  Aradhana  at  Pune.   He 
hailed  from  Kumbakonam. 

Many  such  souls  had  diluted  their  earthly  coils  in  melody. 



(20th  century) 

idi  Sisters  and  Dhanakoti  Sisters  monopolised  concerts  by  woman-duos 
is  century.  Disciples  of  Patnam  Subramania  Ayyar,  Enadi  Sisters  com- 
/ell  and  sang  in  perfect  unison.  Were  speed  merchants  noted  for  their 
ilate  sweet  voice  and  enchanting  rendition.  Eminent  vidwans  had  praise 
r  music  and  T.Sahkaran  writes: 

1  When  they  sang,  Ninnujuchi  dhanyudaiti  in  madhyamakala,  Tirukkodikaval  Krishna 
Ayyar  and  Poochi  Srinivasa  Ayyangar  were  charmed.  Ayyar  admitted,  "When  we  sing 
the  piece,  it  becomes  a  drag.  But  look  how  perfectly  these  ladies  have  handled  it".  The 
sisters  were  however  misers  in  hoarding  their  fabulous  repertoire.  They  would  put  their 
tambura  away  the  moment  they  heard  of  visitors.  But  their  madhyamakala  singing  was 
so  spotless  that  my  mother  Lakshmiratnammal  tried  very  hard  to  learn  a  few  from  them. 
They  did  begin  to  teach  her  a  song  in  Behag.  After  two  lines  the  lesson  ceased  with 
"Come,  next  Sunday".  But  that  Sunday  never  came.  They  died  penniless.1 

lanyan  '  also  says  that  the  Enadi  Sisters  were  'notorious  for  keeping 
Ives  and  their  music  away  from  rasikas'.  Of  course,  one  could  have  no 
>n  to  their  keeping  'themselves'  away  from  rasikas.  It  was  unfortunate 
tragedy  that  while  their  repertoire  was  fabulous  and  their  music  was 
they  should  have  died  penniless!  Evidently  they  had  deprived  themsel- 
ocently  of  well-wishers  and  sane  advice  being  of  possessive  nature. 


usicians  conversant  with  the  more  complex  tonal  structures  and  form  of  Carnatic 
an  digest  the  less  complex  tonal  structure  of  Hindustani  music.  That  is  why  that 
ninent  Carnatic  musicians  have  achieved  eminence  as  performers  in  Hindustani 
10  Hindustani  musician  has  emerged  as  Carnatic  musician  of  any  worth...  It  speaks 
5  for  the  openness  of  mind  and  sense  of  curiosity  of  the  Carnatic  music  tradition 
thuswami  Dikshitar  not  only  seriously  learnt  Hindustani  music  but  also  composed 
ustani  ragas...  Presentation  of  these  in  routine  Carnatic  style  and  carnaticisation 
ragas  of  their  beauty...Greater  incidence  of  gamakas  is  the  basic  hurdle... 
ani  system  is  by  and  large  pitch-oriented,  while  Carnatic  music  is  raga-bhava 

_  Prof.  R.  Visveswaran  -  Sruti. 



a.  Gottuvadyam  Sakharama  Rao  and  Veena  Dhanammal  did  not  take  mridangam  and 
yet  shone  as  collossuses. 

|y.  Madpii  Subramania  Ayyar  sang  swaras  to  the  phrase  rupamu  pratapamu 
(Ninnuvina  Sukhamuganu  -  Todi)  with  hundreds  ofporuthams.  I  cannot  forget  them. 
He  did  not  think  of  swaras  as  he  sang. 

clt  jjruvisanallur  Narayanaswami  sang  a  lot  of  swaras  (and  not  too  many  kritis)  that 
made  hearts  throb  with  joy. 

d.  Govindaswami  Pillai  rained  sarvalaghu  swaras. 

e.  Naina  Pillai  sang  kritis  so  perfectly  that  one  would  never  feel  satiated  with  hearing 

L  Konerirajapuram  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  would  give  form  to  the  raga  before  embellishing 
it  with  astonishing  brikas. 

g.  Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar  sang  with  feeling.  None  can  match  his  speed  in 
brikas,  not  even  violin.  There  were  no  straight  ascents  and  descents  but  coils  within 

h*  Raga  alapanas  increased  in  scope  and  duration  after  the  arrival  of 
G.N.  Balasubramaniam. 

i.  Pushpavanam  and  Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar  began  singing  Hindustani 
songs  at  their  concerts.  Of  course,  Muthuswami  Dikshitar  was  the  earliest  to 
undergo  training  in  it  and  compose  many  songs  availing  of  the  good  shades  in 
Hindustani  ragas. 

j.        Tiger  Varadachariar's  music  was  soaked  in  life. 

k.  Musiri  Subramania  Ayyar's  singing  had  great  depth.  It  was  bhava  sangita.  I  have 
seen  people  sobbing  during  his  concerts  when  he  sang  Tiruvadi  Charanam.  His 
voice  had  the  unique  quality  of  being  clear. 

1.         In  the  songs  of  Papanasam  Sivan,  music  and  meaning  marvellously  blended  and  are 
melted  perfectly. 

As  Nedunuri  Krishnamurti  referred  to,  the  good  features  and  styles  of  maestros  may 
be  kept  in  view  and  imbibed  by  apprentices. 

*(Bhislima  refers  to  Dr.  Semmangudi  Srinivasa  Ayyar.) 



(20fh  Cenfyry  Beginning) 

Ganapathy  Bhagavatar  was  born  at  Mukkai  near  Palghat  -  a  meeting  place 
of  three  rivers  of  which  one  is  the  invisible  i.e.  Antarvauhini  like  the  celebrated 
Saraswati  at  Prayag  and  at  Mukkudal  near  Kanchipuram.  A  prominent  vidwan, 
he  was  very  popular  in  the  area. 


(b.  May  26, 1942) 

Place  of  birth  :          Mekedatu  village  in  Kanakapura  district,  Karnataka. 

Parents  :          Veda  Brahma  Narasimha  Sastri  &  Jayalakshmi  Mata. 

His  Holiness  Sri  Ganapathi  Sacchidananda  Swamigal,  the  Founder-  Presi- 
dent of  Sri  Ganapathi  Sacchidananda  Avadootha  Peetham,  Mysore  is  a  siddha 
purusha  with  spiritual  attainments.  Swamigal  is  a  tireless  crusader  for  spiritual 
revival  inculcating  spiritual  values,  humanism,  equanimity  of  mind  and  relief  of 
suffering  in  particular.  He  has  set  afoot  many  social  projects  and  musical 
therapy  is  one  among  them. 

The  Swamiji  started  his  life  in  the  Postal  Department  in  a  village  near 
Nanjangud  town  and  was  of  a  spiritual  berit  of  mind  since  childhood.  A  net-work 
of  1 60  ashrams  in  the  East  and  the  West  and  an  impressive  centre  at  Mysore 
with  a  studio  to  aid,  spread  the  message  and  teachings  of  the  Swamiji  now. 

Swamigal  had  no  formal  training  in  music  but  took  to  veena,  sitar  and  some 
other  intruments.  Music  is  a  hereditary  virtue,  an  asset  inherited  from  the 
ancestor  Vedamurthi  Jalappa  Sastri  who  was  an  ashtavadhani  and  a  master 
musician.  Mastery  of  Sanskrit  lore  in  the  family  gave  sustenance  to  the  musical 
heritage,  A  study  of  the  lives  of  great  musicians  and  composers  of  the  past 
clearly  reveals  that  music  and  Sanskrit  were  inseparable  twins  and  that  one 
aided  the  progress  and  prosperity  of  the  other.  Swamigal  has  taken  to  mass 
healing  being  a  yogi  with  music  as  his  instrument  He  has  been  touring  round 
the  world  conducting  and  propagating  spiritual  music  to  achieve  the  twin  objec- 
tives of  meditation  and  healing.  Music  has  always  been  treated  as  the  fourth 
Vpaveda1,  the  other  three  being  Dhanurveda,  Ayurveda  and  Artha  Sastra.  Says 
the  Swamiji: 


'  I  use  devotional  music  as  a  means  of  spiritual  energy  transmission.  Some  Higher  Force 
takes  care  of  my  process  once  I  decide  to  heal  through  music,  There  is  pure  energy  in 
melody  with  pure  notes  (swara  suddhi).  Spiritual  power  and  brilliance  help  me,  I 
composed  thousands  of  kirtans  in  many  languages.  Indian  music  is  soulful.  Ragas 
originate  from  Nature.  I  do  not  claim  I  heal.  Lord  heals.  I  am  only  His  instrument. ' 

Concerts  abroad : 

Musical  Healing  concerts  were  given  at  Zurich,  Munich,  Dusseldorf  (West  Germany), 

Luisiana,  Slippery  Rock  (USA), 

Hoois  Beaufort,  Antwerp  and  Hague  in  Europe. 

Swamiji  has  given  such  concerts  at  Madras,  Hyderabad  and  other  cities  also. 
Compositions  &  Books: 

Guru  Gita,  Bhajan  Yogamu,  Bhajan  Kaveri,  Bhajan  Mala  and  quite  a  number 
of  other  books. 

Disc  recordings       : 

Bhajans,  Concerts  and  other  items  in  compact  discs,  cassettes  and  video 

Honours  &  Titles: 

Some  are- 

i.  Member,  Metropolitan  City  Council  of  Baton  Rogue,  USA 
ii.  'State  of  Louisiana'  Approbation. 


Swamiji  uses  an  electronic  Holland  synthesiser  for  presenting  vibrant  sounds 
interspersed  with  shades  of  jazz.  His  concert  provides  an  enthralling,*  but 
relaxed  soothing  melody  conferring  mental  peace  to  the  listeners. 

P.V.  GAMES  A  AYYAR  -  VOCALIST:  (b.(c.)  1921) 

Pozhakudi  Ganesa  Ayyar  enjoys  an  immense  repertoire  of  songs  and  has 
been  coaching  a  large  tribe  of  talented  students  in  classical  music.  A  Sangita 
Bhushanam,  he  has  been  honoured  with  the  titles  of  Pavaimani,  Tharangamani 
and  Swara  Sahitya  Mani.  During  his  studies  for  taking  the  diploma  Sangita 
Bhushanam  at  the  Annamalai  University,  renowned  musicians  like  Tiger 
Varadachariar,  Sabhesa  Ayyar  and  Ponniah  Filial  were  his  teachers. 



(b.  May  22, 1932) 

While  writing  on  Jalatarangam  Subba  Ayyar,  it  was  mentioned  in  Book  I  that 
Anayampatti  is  to  jaiatarangam  what  Melattur  is  to  bhagavatha  mela  or  Palghat 
to  mridangam.  Anayampatti  S.  Ganesan  comes  in  a  distinguished  line  of 
artistes.  Son  of  Subba  Ayyar,  he  was  born  at  Anayampatti.  He  had  appren- 
ticeship in  - 

Vocal  music  under      :          his  father,  A.  V.  Narayana  Ayyar,  uncle  and  violin  vidwan 

and  Chembai  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar. 

Violin  under  :       "  Anayampatti  S.  Dandapani  and 

Chembai  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar. 

Jalatarangam  :          'Swayam  Krishi'  -  Ancestral  legacy,  self  motivation  and 


Bidding  goodbye  to  general  education  with  higher  elementary  school,  he 
made  his  debut  at  the  age  of  fourteen  during  the  Thai  Poosam  Festival  as 
vocalist,  in  his  twentieth  year  as  violinist  and  as  a  Jalatarangam  artiste  in  his 
fifty-second  year  at  Anayampatti  itself.  Ganesan  is  attached  to  the  All  India 
Radio,  Pondicherry  since  1975. 

Concert  tour  :          Provided  violin  support  to  his  brother  and  guru,  late 

S.  Dandapani  in  France  (1982), 

Publication  :          'Isai  Tamil'  with  notation  (Lyrics  by  Nadathur  Nambi  of  All 

India  Radio,  Pondicherry.) 
Cassette  ;          One 

Titles  :          Ganakala  Bhushana  from  Pondicherry  admirers. 

Isai  Kadal  by  Karaikudi  Tamil  Isai  Sangham. 
Taranga  Vadya  Dhureena  from  Karnataka. 

A  highly  difficult  art  with  limited  public  patronage,  Ganesan  is  upholding  a 
traditional  family  heritage  in  Jalatarangam. 

GAYATRI  CHANDRASEKAR  -  VOCALIST:  (b.  June  28,  1948) 

Daughter  of  Dr.  S.  Krishnamurthy  and  Rukmani,  Gayatri  was  born  at  Mysore. 
Her  grandfather  Sankaranarayana  Iyer  was  a  well-known  composer  and 
musicologist.  A  Bachelor  of  Science  with  a  Diploma  in  Advertising,  Gayatri  had 
her  musical  training  under  Kallidaikurichi  M.Ramalinga  Bhagavatar  (brother  of 
Vedanta  Bhagavatar),  Nellai  Mani,  a  violinist' and  Tirunelveli  Meenakshisundara 


Bhagavatar.  She  was  associated  with  the  prominent  magazine  on  Music  and 
Dance  'Sruti'  during  1983- 1 988  and  is  now  News  Correspondent,  Doordarshan, 
Bangalore.  Made  her  debut  in  1 957  at  the  Tyagaraja  Utsavam,  Tirunelveli  and 
has  been  giving  concerts  on  the  All  India  Radio  and  elsewhere. 

GIRIRAJA  KAVI  -  COMPOSER  &  VOCALIST:  (17th  century) 

Giriraja  Kavi  was  the  ilustrious  composer  of  sringara  padas  and  excellent 
yakshagana  plays  in  honour  of  his  patrons  Raja  Shahaji  II  (1684-1712)  and  Raja 
Sambhaji  I  (1712  - 1728)  of  Tanjore.  Histelugu  compositions  numbering  about 
two  hundred  are  preserved  in  the  Saraswati  Mahal  Library,  Tanjore. 

After  scrutinising  the  family  pedigrees  given  by  Giriraja  Kavi's  brother 
Kavigiri  alias  Venkatagiri  in  his  'Rukmangada  Charitra' and  Abhinayadarpana' 
and  the  Wallajahpet  manuscripts,  Dr.  S.  Seetha  states  that  Giriraja  Kavi  was 
different  from  Giriraja  Brahman,  grandfather  of  Tyagarajah  and  author  of 
yakshaganas  and  kirtanas  who  adorned  the  Court  of  Tulajah  (1  763  -1 789)  and 
that  it  is  dificult  to  ascribe  some  songs  to  either  one  of  the  individual  composers. 

Apart  from  the  confusion  in  the  identification  of  the  paternal  grandfather  of 
Tyagarajah,  there  was  probably  confusion  in  respect  of  his  maternal  grandfather, 
Vina  Kalahastayya  also.  He  is  different  from  Vina  Kalahastayya  who  was 
honoured  in  1771  by  Raja  Tulajah. 

Giriraja  Kavi  had  invented  new  ragas  like  — 

Sarabharaja  Chandrika 

Sarabha  Lalita 

Sarabha  Kalpam 

Sarabha  Nalina  and 

Suranidhi,  'the  melodic  individuality  of  which  is  not  known'. 

His  musical  plays  in  telugu  are  — 

Sarvanga  Sundari  Vilasam  Rajamohana  Kuravanji 

Rajakanya  Parinayam  Vadajayamu  and 

Lilavati  Kalyanam. 

These  are  stated  to  be  in  manuscript  still.  Soma  Kavi,  Vasudeva  Kavi,  Rama 
Bharati  and  Pattabhiramayya  were  among  his  contemporaries  in  the  Court  of 

(Note;  The  description  given  at  page  64  of  'A  Garland'  stands  modified.) 



Prof.  Gomati  Vishwanathan  inherited  much  from  her  musically  talented 
mother,  a  violinist  and  disciple  of  Tirukkodikaval  Krishna  Ayyar,  her  grandmother, 
aunt  and  grandaunt.  Initiated  at  the  age  of  seven  by  her  mother,  she  had 
specialised  training  with  - 

Mannargudi  Swaminatha  Ayyar 

Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar 

Mudicondan  Venkatarama  Ayyar  and 

T.K.  Jayarama  Ayyar  -^  -  all  celebrities. 

The  benevolent  Justice  T.L  Venkatarama  Ayyar  gave  her  insight  into 
Muthuswami  Dikshitar's  kritis.  On  the  academic  side,  she  got  her  M.  Lit.  in  music 
from  the  Madras  University  on  her  thesis  The  Music  of  the  Nritya  -  Natakas  of 
South  India',  having  made  an  in-depth  study  of  the  diverse  types  of  dance 

Gomati  Vishwanathan  has  been  giving  concerts  for  nearly  five  decades  on 
the  All  India  Radio,  Doordarshan  and  for  prestigious  institutions.  Has  a  vast 
and  unique  repertoire  of  the  compositions  of  practically  all  eminent  great  clas- 
sical composers  in  telugu,  Sanskrit,  tamil,  etc.  She  is  a  traditionalist.  A 
musicologist  of  vast  erudition,  varied  specialisation  and  dedication,  she  is  in 
constant  demand  for  lecture-demonstrations,  guidance  in  research  and  expert 
opinion.  Sangeet  Natak  Akademy,  Central  Institute  of  Education,  All  India  Radio, 
Music  Academy  and  Universities  have  requisitioned  her  services  and  her  lecture 
-  demonstrations  cover  as  varied  subjects  as  'Isai  Tamizh'  and  'Unpublished 
kritis  of  Merattur  Venkatarama  Sastry'  and  'Historical  Evolution  of  Karnatak 
Music'  and  Temple  Music1. 

Has  authored  numerous  articles.  Was  associated  with  the  committees  on 
music  of  the  Delhi  University,  AIR  Audition  Committee.  Was  Adviser  to  the 
University  Grants  Commission,  Sangit  Natak  Akademy  and  Central  Board  of 
Secondary  Education,  etc.  She  is  on  the  Experts  Committee  of  the  Madras 
Music  Academy. 

Prof.  Gomati  Vishwanathan  was  Reader-Head  of  the  Karnatak  Music  Depart- 
ment of  the  Faculty  of  Music  and  Fine  Arts,  Delhi  University  and  is  now  Visiting 
Professor,  Queen  Mary's  College,  Madras  and  Madras  University. 


Gopala  Ayyar  had-all  the  plus  points  -  a  melodious  voice,  flawless 
expertise    and  fine  rendition  but  lacked  luck.    He  had  to  toil  as  an 


ordinary  accountant  in  a  brass  vessel  shop  and  supplement  the  income 
by  acting  as  voice  support  to  harikatha  artistes. 

Lacklustre  life  did  not,  however,  prevent  Gopala  Ayyar  from  entertaining  a 
fond  desire  to  sing  with  Tirukodikaval  Krishna  Ayyar,  a  colossus,  on  violin.  The 
absurdity  of  entertaining  such  a  desire  deterred  neither  him  from  expressing  it 
to  his  friend  and  patron  Balakrishna  Udayar  nor  the  latter  from  sympathising  with 
him.  Udayar  brought  Krishna  Ayyar  for  'a  concert'  without  revealing  the  name 
of  the  vocalist  to  the  last.  To  his  consternation  and  dismay,  the  celebrated 
all-time  maestro  Krishna  Ayyar  saw  Gopala  taking  his  seat  at  the  centre  of  the 
concert  stage  rather  than  behind  some  other  vocalist  to  lend  voice-support. 
Overcoming  his  aversion  and  anger,  he  played  with  a  fallen  heart  He  was 
surprised  to  find  Gopala  singing  very  well  and  finally  recommended  a  fair  fee  for 
him  too.  If  Viswamitra  extracted  acknowledgement  from  the  mouth  of  Vasishta 
that  he  was  a  Brahma  Rishi,  Gopala  too  had  his  day  of  glory  to  have  the  maestro 
as  his  violin  accompaniment  and  secure  his  nod  in  appreciation.  (ELLARVi) 

LALGUD1  V.R.  GOPALA  AYYAR  -  VIOLINIST:  (1900  - 1979) 

There  is  an  amorous  marriage  of  the  Lalgudi  family  with  violin.  Lalgudi 
Radhakrishna  Ayyar,  a  prominent  violinist  of  his  days,  trained  his  two  sons, 
Madurai  Kandaswami  Bhagavatar  and  V.R,  Gopala  Ayyar  as  violinists.  It  is  well 
known  that  the  tradition  is  kept  up  with  added  flavour  by  Gopala  Ayyar's  children 
and  grand  children  who  have  made  the  word  'Lalgudi1  a  family  attribute  denoting 
charm  and  exhuberant  violin  play.  Gopala  Ayyar  was  a  competent  violinist  whose 
rendition  cascaded  fast.  He  was  a  composer  of  elegance.  Lalgudi  Jayaraman 
reminisces  that  he  owes  his  all  to  his  eminent  father  and  regrets  that  his  father's 
retiring  disposition  and  lack  of  opportunities  robbed  him  of  the  recognition  that 
was  his  due. 

GOPALARATNAM  -  VOCALIST;  (20th  Century) 

The  family  of  Gopalaratnam  hailed  from  Srirangam  but  she  was  born  at 
Pushpagiri  near  Vijayanagar  and  had  her  tutelage  with  Vainika  Joga  Rao.  Later 
she  took  a  diploma  in  1 956  in  music.  A  very  good  artiste  with  a  melodious  voice 
and  talents,  Gopalaratnam  has  been  giving  concerts  on  the  All  India  Radio  and 
at  important  institutions  like  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  and  Ram  Mandira, 
Mysore.  She  was  singing  for  the  Bhakti  Ranjani  programmes  of  the  All  India 
Radio.  A  multi-faceted  artiste,  she  is  well-versed  in  the  exposition  of  yak- 
shagana,  kuchipudi,  Melattur  Mela,  folk  music,  javali,  etc.,  items. 

Title  ;          Madhura  Gayak 

,*      *      * 



S.  GOVINDARAJA  PILLAI  (b.  Nov.  7, 1919 

S.  DAKSHINAMURTHI  PILLAI  August  9,  1923) 

Born  at  Tiruvizhimalalai,  of  Subramania  Pillai  and  Sethu  Ammal,  both  were 
initially  trained  for  vocal  music  by  their  paternal  uncle  and  later  had  training  in 
nagaswaram  under  their  father  and  uncle  Natarajasundaram.  Are  prominent 
artistes  and  popular.  Were  asthana  vidwans  of  Dharmapuram  and 
Tiruvaduthurai  Mutts  and  have  given  a  large  number  of  recitals  on  the  All  India 
Radio  and  elsewhere.  Tiruvizhimalalai  has  a  beautiful  temple  and  the  nagaswara 
artistes  are  usually  accredited  to  it.  Vide  pages  191-2  of  A  Garland  tor  details 
on  Tiruvizhimalalai  Brothers  (Sr.) 

Titles  &  Honours        : 

Nagaswara  Rathnam . 

Kalaimamani  from  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram  in  1979. 

Concert  tour  : 

Sri  Lanka. 

T.K.  GOVINDA  RAO  -  VOCALIST  &  PEDAGOGUE  :  (b.  April  21 , 1 929) 

Born  at  Tirupoonthura  in  Kerala,  of  Kamalam  and  Krishna  Rao,  a  mdisician, 
Govinda  Rao  had  his  first  lessons  in  music  under  his  cousin,  Mani  Bhagavatar. 
He  was  in  the  first  batch  of  students  at  the  Central  College  of  Music,  Madras, 
then  under  Principal  Musiri  Subramania  Ayyar.  Simultaneously  Rao  was  taking 
lessons  from  Chembai  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar  thus  deriving  the  benefit  of  the 
scholarship  and  musical  eminence  of  two  sangita  kalanidhis  of  different  styles. 
Rao  is  a  staunch  upholder  of  kalapramana  backed  by  tonal  felicity  and  his 
concerts  are  satisfying. 

After  his  training,  Govinda  Rao  has  been  giving  concerts  extensively  in  India 
and  abroad.  He  was  Lecturer  for  sometime  at  the  Central  College  of  Carnatic 
Music,  Madras  and  later  became  Producer,  All  India  Radio,  Madras.  He  was 
shifted  to  Delhi  and  retired  in  January,  1990  as  Chief  Producer.  He  has  set  to 
tune  slokas  also. 

Books  &  Publications : 

Varnamanjari  comprising  27  vamas 

Kshetra  Kirtanas  of  Tyagaraja  on  Tirupati,  Kanchipuram  and  Tiruvaiyaru  fully  notated 

along  with  S.  Rajam. 


Disc  recordings : 
Concert  tours  abroad  : 

USA,  Canada,  Singapore,  Malaysia,  Sri  Lanka  and  Mangolia. 

Govinda  Rao  is  an  admirer  of  the  ancient  system  of  gurukulavasa  which 
instils  emotional  integration  between  the  teacher  and  the  taught  and  provides 
immense  scope  for  creativeness,  the  bedrock  of  Indian  music.  Here  is  an 
anecdote  cited  by  Rao  : 

'A  boy  was  sent  to  Muthuswami  Dikshitar  for  training  in  music.  Several 
months  later,  the  father  was  pained  to  hear  that  lessons  had  not  been  started 
for  his  son  and  so  to  ascertain  the  position,  he  made  a  visit  to  Dikshitar.  When 
he  politely  enquired  the  Bard  of  Tiruvarur,  that  intellectual  Kshetragna  sum- 
moned the  boy  and  asked  him  to  sing!  The  perplexed  boy  started  with  diffidence 
and  ended  with  a  fine  rendition  to  the  amazement  of  the  father  and  satisfaction 
of  his  guru!' 

Govinda  Rao  states  that  it  was  gurukulavasa  in  essence,  knowledge  ac- 
quired and  assimilated  by  hearing,  by  becoming  one  with  the  guru  and  realising 
in  himself  a  second  version  of  his  guru  quite  in  accord  with  the  Adwaita 
philosophy.  (This  anecdote  finds  support  in  the  case  of  Mysore  Vasudevacharya, 
who  has  penned  that  Patnam  Subramanya  Ayyar  rarely  taught  him  but  that  he 
accompanied  him  to  all  his  concerts  seeking  clarification  only  on  his  doubts.) 
Rao  further  points  out  that  Carnatic  music  is  kriti-oriented  providing  sahitya 
bhava  and  rasa  in  addition  to  drawing  out  the  various  possibilities  and  potential 
of  raga  bhava.  The  great  vaggeyakaras  have  practically  covered  all  the  pos- 
sibilities for  elaboration  and  creativity,  which  is  the  bedrock  of  Indian  music.  He 
mentions  that  Annamalai  University  in  earlier  decades  provided  a  quasi 
gurukulavasa  as  the  gurus  and  pupils  lived  together  affording  enough  scope  for 
mutual  exchanges  outside  the  classrooms  too, 

Honours  &  Titles  :  .     _ 

Sangita  Sastra  Ratnakara  by  Sri  Mouna  Swamigal,  Madras  1 968. 

Gana  Kala  Tilakam  by  Sri  Rama  Seva  Mandali,  Malleswaram  1 972. 

Gana  Nadakanal  by  Nadakanal,  Madras  1 985. 

Sangita  Choodamani  by  Sri  Krishna  Gana  Sabha,  Madras  1 988. 

V.  GOVINDASWAMI  ffAICKER  -  VIOLINIST:  (b.  Septr.  24, 1915) 

Bom  at  Cuddalore 

of  Venu  Naickerand  Anandammal. 

Leamt  Violin  under      Rathinaswami  Pillai  and  VHIivakkam  Narasimhachariar 


In  his  15th  year,  he  toured  Burma  and  gave  solos  earning  much  praise  and 
popularity.  Had  accompanied  most  of  the  prominent  vidwans  and  has  been 
honoured  with  titles  like 

Tantri  Nadamani  Isai  Aruvi  and 


Concert  tour:  Sri  Lanka,  Burma 

Note:  Villivakkam  was  once  spelt  as  Villivalkam  to  exhibit  the  Madrasi's  partiality  for  King's 
English.  Another  specimen  of  it  was  the  fact  that  Hampden  Bridge  on  Mylapore  - 
Triplicane  border  was  pronounced  as  Amden  Bridge;  the  word  Amden  was  translated 
into  tamil  as  Ambattan  (meaning  barber)  and  retranslated  into  english  as  Barber's 
Bridge.  It  was  the  terminus  for  the  old  electric  trams  and  was  a  prominent  landmark. 


A  prominent  pedagogue,  Gowri  Kuppuswami  has  authored  numerous  ar- 
ticles of  importance  and  books  like  - 
Teaching  of  Music  and 
Pallaki  Seva  Prabhandam. 

Dr.  M.  Hariharan  who  had  taken  his  Ph.D.  at  the  Mysore  University  has 
co-authored  several  of  the  contributions  of  the  Professor.  They  had  jointly 
carried  out  several  projects  and  brought  out  many  publications.  Had  jointly 
visited  USA  and  Canada. 

Prof.  Gowri  Kuppuswami  had  her  training  in  music  under  K.S.  Krishnaswami 
Ayyar,  K.V.  Venkatarama  Ayyar,  T.R.  Balasubramanian,  R.K.  Srikantan,  M.L. 
Vasantakumari  and  S.  Kalyanaraman.  She  made  her  appearance  on  the  All 
India  Radio  in  1950  and  gave  her  first  concert  in  1952  at  the  Mysore  Gana  Kala 
Mandira.  Has  a  sweet  voice  and  acquired  immense  knowledge  and  expertise. 
In  1967,  she  was  appointed  as  Reader,  Mysore  College  of  Music  and  later 
became  Professor  and  Head  of  Department  of  Music,  University  of  Mysore. 

Concert  tours  :  *         USSR,  Yugoslavia  and  Bulgaria  with  the  Bharatanatya 
Troupe  in  1 970.  USA  and  Canada  in  1 981 . 


'This  is  not  the  way  Bade  Khan  Saheb  used  to  begin*, 

protested  a  rasika  in  the  audience  at  Pune. 

'I  am  no  stenographer  to  Bade  Miyan',  retorted  Mallikarjun  Mansur  and  showed  the  contrast 
between  Bade  Miyan's  rendition  and  his  own.  —  M.  Madan  Mohan 

The  artiste  has  thus  demonstrated  his  knowledge  and  his  individuality! 



Ariyakudi  Ramanuja  Ayyangar,  doyen  of  Carnatic  vocalists  for  three  decades  - 

i.  Always  carried  a  sheet  of  paper  and  a  pencil  tucked  in 
at  his  waist  to  jot  down  ideas  and  points;  -  Secretarial ; 

ii.  Was  meticulous  in  writing  up  his  daily  accounts;  -  Accounts  and  Audit; 

iii.  Was  parsimonious  to  a  degree  when  his  purse 

was  involved;  *  -  Financial  Control ; 

iv.  Was  never  parsimonious  in  conversation  or 

encouraging  others;        *  -  Public  Relations; 

v.  Very  strict  in  keeping  up  appointments;  -  Administration 

vL  Always  took  good  advice  wheresoever  it  came  from  —  Receptivity;  and 


vii.  Was  well  known  for  'pinching*.  Once  he  got  a  gun 

from  an  admirer  but  never  shot  any.  -  One  of  the  64  Arts  ? 

—  Source:  S.  Raj  am  in  'Sruti'. 

(Note:  A  word  about  the  village  of  Ariyakudi.  Once  an  asukavi  visited  the  village.  None  cared 
for  him.  He  became  angry  and  so  started  singing  ex  tempore  a  song  which  would  bring  eternal 
perdition  to  the  villagers.  Frightened  at  his  Durvasa  type  of  rage,  villagers  prayed  to  be 
pardoned.  The  asukavi  modified  his  song  already  begun  to  the  effect  that  the  village  shall  remain 
where  it  was.  It  did  not  prosper  much  until  recently.) 


In  Mylapore  Nadu  Street,  where  Balachander-Rajam  Brothers  prospered  in  their 
teens,  Kanchipuram  Naina  Pillai  gave  a  concert.  Mridangam  Ramdas  and  Trichy 
Panchami  on  kanjira  played  softly  in  deference  to  the  vocal  maestro.  The  audience  began 
to  deride  the  percussionists.  An  annoyed  Naina  Pillai  stopped  singing  and  asked  the  two 
accompanists,  *A  short  tani  (percussion  solo).  Come  on,  show  your  merit*.  The  two 
percussionists  were  accomplished  artistes. 

There  ensued  a  breezy  play  in  rhythm  and  dazzling  fingering.  The  crowd  clapped 
repeatedly.  Pillai,  before  resuming,  said: 

'They  laughed  at  you  before*  Now  you  laugh  at  them.' 

—  T.  Sankaran. 



P.  H ARIHARA  AYYAR  -  VEENA  ARTISTE  :  (b.  December  1 0,  1 932) 

Place  of  birth  :  Trivandrum 

Parents  :  Trivandrum  Veena  Parameswara  Bhagavatar  £ 

Seethalakshmi  Ammai 

Musical  Heritage  :  Suchindram  Veena  Padmanabha  Bhagavatar, 


Father  an  illustrious  veena  vidwan  -  W.  Somerset 
Maugham  listened  to  him  and  recorded,  'Wonderful  and 
beautiful  experience  . . .  lovely  melodies  . .  A  great 

Great  grandfather  Sthanu  Bhagavatar  &  granduncle 

Sankaranarayana  were  good  musicians. 

Brother  &  Guru,  P.  Padmanabhan,  M.Sc.,  a  vocalist  & 


Musical  Training 

Born  in  a  musical  family,  training  started  at  the  age  of  seven  and 
continued  under  grandfather  till  1949,  father  till  1965  and  later  with 
brother  P.  Padmanabhan.  Harihara  Ayyar  had  thus  a  qualified 
gurukulavasa.  Veena  rendition  has  been  a  family  virtue. 

Academic  Qualification         A  Maths  Graduate  &  now  an  employee  in  the  Life 
&  Occupation  :          Insurance  Corporation. 

A.I.R.  artiste  since  1958 

Debut  :          December  1 948  at  V. J.T.  Hall,  Trivandrum 


Harihara  Ayyar  has  been  giving  concerts  on  the  All  India  Radio,  sabhas,  etc. 
An  expert  in  the  design  and  construction  of  veena,  the  vidwan  has  been  carrying 
on  the  style  and  message  of  his  distinguished  ancestors  wth  a  keen  eye  on  the 
purity  of  rendition. 

He  recalls  the  incident  in  about  1885  in  which  Suchindram  Padmanabha 
Bhagavatar  was  asked  to  play  for  five  minutes  before  Sri  Rama  Ayyangar, 
Dewan  of  Travancore  as  the  latter  had  to  attend  some  functions  urgently. 
Amazed  at  the  time  given,  the  vainika  started  setting  the  tune  simultaneously, 
Rama  Ayyangar  forgotthis  functions  and  sat  for  two  hours  and  then  said  : 

1  Dear  Bhagavatar,  you  had  tied  me  to  your  Kalyani  alapana  and  made  me  forget  the 
other  kalyanams  (marriage  functions).  Your  Kalyani  is  worth  more  than  all  the  other 
nine ! ' 


August  1 966.  Harihara  Ayyar's  concert  was  on.  A  'rasika'  requested  him  for 
'RTA'  i.e.  ragam,  tanam  and  anupallavi  -  not  the  usual  'RTP'.  Ayyar  obliged  him 
with  raga  and  tanam  in  Kamboji  followed  by  neraval  and  swaras  beginning  at 
the  anupallavi  of  the  kritis  'Ma  Janakl*.  The  rasika  felt  pleased.  Ayyar  recalls 
an  incident  when  his  father  started  playing  'Koniyadedu '  in  Kokiladhwani.  When 
a  gentleman  requested  for  raga  Mayuradhwani,  others  in  the  audience  shouted 
him  down  stating  that  cuckoo  should  prevail  over  the  peacock  in  music. 

HARIPALA  -  MUSICOLOGIST  :  (e.  1170  A.D.) 

Son  of  Samantasfmha  (also  called  Bhima  Deva)  Haripala  was  the  ruler  of 
Gujarat  with  his  capital  at  Abhinavapura  (Anhilawad)  belonging  to  the 
Chalukyas.  He  bore  the  title  of  Vichara  Chaturmukha'  and  has  authored  the 
work  'Sangita  Sudhakara'  in  five  sections  dealing  with  angabhinaya,  tala,  musi- 
cal instruments,  requisites  of  natya,  gita  and  gita  prabhandas.  His  work  is  one 
of  the  main  links  in  the  chain  of  works  on  music. 

'  Its  importance  lies  in  its  support  of  Nandikeswara  and  his  system.  As  the  work  is  earlier 
to  Sangita  Ratnakara,  it  helps  us  to  trace  the  evolution  of  music  and  dance.' 

—  Gowri  Kuppuswami  &  M.  Hariharan 

HEMALATHA  MANI  -  VAINIKA :  (b.  April  11, 1953) 

Daughter  of  K.  Narayanaswarny,  Hemalatha  Mam"  is  a  graduate  in  Arts  and 
Law.  She  underwent  training  under  C.  Chitti  Babu,  the  veena  maestro  and  also 
took  the  Sangita  Vidwan  diploma  at  the  Govt.  Music  College,  Madras  in  1975. 
With  scholarship  from  Government,  she  continued  her  specialised  training  with 
Chitti  Babu  in  Veena.  Made  her  debut  at  the  Tyagaraja  Aradhana,  Tiruvaiyaru 
in  1968.  Has  been  giving  concerts  at  various  forums. 

Title  :         Paintamizh  Isai  Pannbu  Mani  by  Saraswati 

Sangeetha  Sabha,  Cuddalore 

Concert  tours  :          Hongkong,  Bangkok  and  Baltimore  (USA) 

Hemalatha  Mani  is  a  composer  too.  Her  recitals  are  satisfying. 

*       *       * 

C.  HONNAPPA  BHAGAVATAR  -  MUSICIAN  &  FILM  STAR  :  (Jany  14,  1915 

Octr  1,1992) 

Place  of  birth  :         Choudasandra  Village,  Bangalore  district, 

Parents  ;         Chicka  Lingappa  (Gamaki)  -  Kallamma. 


As  a  boy,  Honnappa  Bhagavatar  took  part  in  yakshagana,  bhajans  and 
dramas  and  learnt  harmonium  and  tabla  play.  He  had  training  under  Samban- 
damurthy  Bhagavatar,  Mysore  Arunachalappa,  etc.,  and  shaped  into  a  classical 
musician.  Actually  he  was  giving  concerts.  But  his  own  interests  and  future  lay 
in  films  and  dramas  and  so  entered  Sri  Gubbi  Veeranna's  famous  dramatic 
troupe  and  was  taking  lead  roles.  Probably  his  first  picture  was  'Ambikapathi'. 
States  that  'it  was  a  mile-stone  in  his  glamorous  film  career1. 

Bhagavatar  had  acted  in  a  number  of  tamil  films,  viz., 

Krishna  Kumar  Sati  Sukhanya 

Devakanya  Bhakta  Kalathi 

Prabhavati  Raja  Rajeswari 

Kundalakesi  Arundati 

Valmiki  Burma  Rani,  etc. 

He  acted  in  the  kannada  film  'Subhadra'  and  produced  his  own  film  'Bhakta 
Kumbara'.  Has  acted  in  many  other  kannada  films.  He  acted  as  Kalidasa  and 
Basaveswara  in  Mahakavi  Kalidasa  and  Jagajyoti,  both  of  which  got  the  National 
Awards  in  1955  and  1959.  He  was  running  his  own  drama  company  called  'Uma 
Maheswara  Sangeetha  Nataka  Mandali'. 

Honours  &  titles  : 

Best  Actor  in  Kannada  Films  By  Madras  Cine  Fans  Association. 

Natyacharya  By  Sri  Jagadguru  Vageesa  Panditharadhya. 

Ganabhinaya  Chandra  By  Sri  Raghavendra  Swamiji. 

Award  for  Karnataka 

Sastreeya  Sangeetha  By  Karnataka  State  Sangeetha 

Nataka  Academy. 

Gayaka  Sikhamani  By  Karnataka  Gana  Kala  Parishat 

Gana  Kala  Gandharva  By  Samsthana  Vidwans 

Award  By  Sangeet  Natak  Akademy,  Delhi  in  1 990. 

Has  been  giving  concerts  on  the  All  India  Radio  and  was  a  member  of  the 
Karnataka  State  Films  Advisory  Board  and  Chairman  of  the  Board  of  Music 
Examinations.  Was  President  of  the  Karnataka  Gana  Kala  Parishat.  Bhagavatar 
was  more  a  cine  star  than  a  vocalist. 

Honnappa  Bhagavatar  has  composed  about  300  kritis  and  his  compositions 
have  been  brought  out  in  the  book  'Omkara  Nadasudha*  published  by  Kannada 
Sahitya  Parishat  in  1983. 




Duos  have  embellished  Classical  Carnatic  music  from  the  days  of  Lava  and 
Kusa,  the  advantages  being  not  far  to  seek,  The  measure  of  success  of  the 
duos  hinges  upon  the  degree  of  exploitation  of  the  varied  advantages  in  tone 
(individual  and  joint),  reach  and  range  of  the  individual  artistes,  felicity  and 
expertise  in  segmental  rendition  -  raga  alapana,  kriti,  swara,  etc,  (V7dethe 
Chapter  on  'Woman  in  Melody'  in  Part  I.  Radha  and  Jayalakmi,  Bombay  Sisters, 
etc.  have  been  highly  successful  as  duos.)  Alathur  Brothers,  Manakkal  Brothers, 
Pozhakudi  Brothers,  Bellary  Brothers,  Raman  -  Lakshmanan  Brothers,  Ganesh 
-  Kumaresh  (violinists),  etc.,  have  established  varying  degrees  of  success  in 
Carnatic  music.  Hyderabad  Brothers  are  the  latest  who  have  established  a  very 
close  rapport  with  the  music  lovers  and  carved  out  a  niche  for  themselves  quite 
soon  after  their  advent. 

The  Brothers  enjoy  a  cultivated  voice.  Their  rendition  is  entirely  traditional 
in  concept,  projection  and  coverage.  They  enjoy  total  alignment  to  sruti,  plan 
their  concert  menu  with  professional  skill  and  sing  with  measured  precision.  The 
high  sense  of  faith  in  the  classical  content  is  kept  up  invariably  at  successive 
concerts.  'With  strong  voices,  their  rendition  is  marked  with  thrust,  energy  and 
mastery  over  art  with  aesthetic  awareness.  Seshachari's  strength  and  vigour  in 
alapana  is  matched  by  the  softness  of  RaghavachanY  It  would  appear  that  they 
have  adopted  the  concert  pattern  of  Ariyakudi  Ramanuja  Ayyangarwith  success. 
Quite  a  professional  approach  with  efficiency. 


i.        Can  two  players  play  on  a  single  musical  instrument  ?  Yes. 

Keeranur  Govindaswami  Pillai,  a  zealous  nagaswara  player,  wished  to  do 
something  unique.  So  he  took  his  brother-in-law  Muthuswami  Pillai  and 
both  played  a  kriti  (song)  on  a  single  pipe  -  one  went  on  blowing  the  pipe 
and  the  other  fingered  it!  —  (ELLARVI) 

ii.  Daughter  of  Devakottai  Narayana  Ayyangar,  Vedavalli  Srinivasan,  Lec- 
turer, Music  College,  Madras  paired  two  handicapped  students  to  play  on 
a  single  veena.  One  girl  used  her  left  hand  on  the  frets  while  the  other 
provided  the  meetu  (tuning).  Veena  maestro  S.  Balachander  was  the 
Chief  Guest  at  the  demonstration. 


ILLANGO  -  POET-MUSICOLOGIST  :  (Second  Century  A.D.) 

Mother  got  the  throne  for  him.  But  he  treated  it  as  evil  and  the  right  secured 
for  him  as  monstrous  sin  opposed  to  all  canons  of  dharma.  Not  only  did  he  reject 
it  but  underwent  penance  till  the  rightful  claimant  came  back  after  fourteen  years 
of  exile.  That  was  Bharata  in  Epic  Ramayana.  But  the  scion  of  the  Chera 
Dynasty  of  the  West  Coast,  Illango  scorned  even  the  suggestion  that  he  was  the 
most  suitable  to  ascend  the  throne.  Thus  far,  his  life  was  a  replica  of  Bharata. 
To  avoid  any  future  possibility  or  suspicion,  he  took  to  renunciation.  That  was 
so  like  Bhishma  of  the  epic  Mahabharata.  This  Prince  of  Magnificence  brought 
out  the  finest  fragrant  gold  of  tamil  works  -  the  epic  called  *Qilappatikaram\ 
woven  around  an  anklet.  It  is  a  beautiful  story  of  virgin  chastity,  unmatched 
music  and  dance,  love  and  remorse,  wrongs  and  morals  and  ultimate  tragedy 
of  the  noblest  type  with  a  king  dying  the  minute  he  realises  his  folly  in  condemn- 
ing to  death  an  innocent  person  and  with  a  city  reduced  to  ashes  for  miscarriage 
of  justice!  Mahakavi  Subramania  Bharati  thundered  that  'we  would  destroy  the 
world  if  an  individual  is  left  without  food.1  Kannagi,  the  heroine  (an  Angel  of 
Chastity)  destroys  the  City  of  Madurai  when  her  innocent  husband,  a  mortal  is 
wrongly  charged  with  theft  and  is  beheaded.  An  innocent  shall  not  be  punished 
even  if  it  be  that  several  criminals  are  let  off,  says  the  unwritten  codes  of  modern 
world.  Nearly  two  thousand  years  back,  the  king  dies  (not  killed  like  Charles  I, 
or  a  Louis  or  a  Czar)  and  the  city  is  reduced  to  ashes  because  an  innocent  soul 
was  wrongly  punished.  That  was  the  glory  of  India  that  was  !  Let  us  recollect 
the  episodes  of  Manu  Neeti  Cholan  and  other  Pillars  of  Dharma  and  Morality. 
One  could  then  appreciate  why  Bharati  was  vehement  in  asserting,  'You  are  the 
son  of  Bharat;  Forget  it  not' As  Paul  Brunton  said,  the  Nation  should  not  discard 
the  good  and  great  things  it  has  inherited. 

Illango  portrays  and  weaves  out  a  captivating  story  to  bring  home  his 
message.  Kovalan,  a  rich  merchant  marries  Kannagi.  The  reception  includes 
the  dance  performance  of  Madhavi,  a  danseuse  of  rare  charm.  A  victim  of 
bewitchery,  Kovalan  follows  Madhavi  instantly  and  life  is  enchanting  to  them 
both.  Time  fleets  to  them  though  not  to  the  discarded  spouse  left  a  virgin.  They 
join  the  Indra  Festival  celebrated  on  the  seashore.  Seeds  of  suspicion  and 
embitterrnent  are  sown.  Just  as  he  left  Kannagi  on  the  day  of  marriage,  Kovalan 
leaves  Madhavi  at  the  Festival  and  returns  to  the  waiting  wedded  wife  full  of 
remorse.  Chill  penury  necessitates  the  couple  to  leave  for  Madurai  to  sell  one 
of  her  anklets  of  matchless  beauty  to  'start'  their  married  life  !  (They  had  never 
started  that  before  and  never  did  later  too  !) 


At  Madurai  the  kind  hostess  Madhuri,  in  whose  charge  Kannags  is  left,  sees 
bad  omens  even  as  Calpurnia  saw  in  Shakespeare's  Caesar  -  fourteen  cen- 
turies later !.  Kovalan  gets  cheated  by  a  goldsmith;  a  just  king  passes  the  unjust 
illegal  sentence  of  death  for  Kovaian's  alleged  crime  of  theft  and  Kovalan  is 
beheaded.  The  Fire  of  Dharma,  of  Righteousness  is  kindled  in  the  heart  of 
innocent  Kannagi  and  her  wrath  reduces  the  city  to  ashes,  after  the  good  king 
dies  when  he  is  confronted  with  unimpeachable  evidence  that  Kovalan  was 
innocent  of  any  crime.  A  soul  shattering  tragedy.  Law  is  supreme  ! 

Illango  brings  out  the  whole  panorama  of  music  and  dance  fo  account  in  the 
course  of  the  epic  drama  through  Madhavi's  art  and  later  through  Madhuri's 
'Kuravai  Koothu '.  Even  the  seven  women  who  take  part  in  the  koothu  are  named 
after  the  seven  notes  -kural,  thutham,  kaikilai,  uzhai,  ill  or  eli,  vilari  andtharam! 
Qilappatikaram  has  been  the  eternal  inspiration  of  the  people  of  the  South  and 
Kannagi  is  worshipped  as  the  Goddess  of  Chastity.  There  is  a  temple  too  for 
her  near  the  state  boundary. 

There  are  two  commentaries  on  the  work  -  one  by  Arumpadaurai  Asiriyar 
and  the  other  by  Adiyarkkunallar.  Dr.  S.  Ramanathan  has  done  original 
research  into  the  musical  aspects  dealt  with  in  it.  The  work  has  three 
cantos,  thirty  chapters  and  5200  lines. 

'It  is  the  product  of  a  master  mind,  a  rernarkabe  literary  classic  ...  It  is 
astonishing  how  Illango  incorporates  Bharata's  Natya  Sastra  bodily  into  his  own 
work  so  that  it  fitted  into  the  core  of  Tamil  Culture.  The  graft  is  accomplished 
with  consummate  genius  and  foresightedness.  .  .  ' 

—  R.  Rangaramanuja  Ayyangar. 

It  is  extraordinary  that  the  work  of  the  second  century  in  the  South  accords 
with  the  work  of  Bharata  in  the  North.  Qilappatikaram  is  'a  real  treasure-house 
of  source  material  for  a  correct  understanding  of  the  music  of  South  India'. 

—  TS.Parthasarathy. 

INDIRA  SRINIVASAN  -  VOCALIST  :  (b.  May  30, 1938) 

Qualification  Graduated  in  Music  from  the  Kalakshetra  and  the 

Central  College  of  Music,  Madras  (1 957) 

MBA  &  Doctorate  in  Music  at  California  University,  USA 

Indira  Srinivasan  has  other  qualifications  too  and  had  been  a  teacher  while 
young.  Conversant  with  many  languages,  she  presented  the  thesis  Influence 
of  South  Indian  Music  in  Algerian  Music  and  a  Comparative  Study  of  Music  of 
India,  Algeria  and  the  West'  for  her  doctorate.  She  has  been  giving  and 
organising  concerts,  bhajans,  etc.,  and  imparting  tuitions.  She  has  given 


demonstrations  and  presented  essays.    Has  composed  songs  in  tamil  and 

As  president  of  the  institution  'Omkaranadam',  she  arranges  programmes 
herself  taking  prominent  part  in  them  including  a  cultural  tour  of  Thailand  and 
Singapore..  A  multi-faceted  lady,  she  is  equipped  in  painting  and  drawing.  To 
quote  Swami  Ranganathananda  of  Ramakrishna  Mission,  'Combining  in  herself 
a  good  academic  education,  musical  talents  and  capacity  for  painting  and 
drawing  and  writing  books,  she  has  used  all  these  to  further  the  cause  of  national 


The  musician  read  that  the  Duke  of  Edinburgh  admonished  Argentinian  students  who 
threw  eggs  at  him  saying: 

*  Do  not  throw  any  more; 

I  have  only  a  limited  supply  of  suits. ' 

He  relished  the  subtle  humour  and  put  it  to  use  at  his  concert  that  evening: 

*  Enough,  enough. 

Halt  that  rhythmic  applause 
after  every  alapana,  kriti  and  swara 
lest  your  hands  should  ache  ! 
I  take  note  of  your  gestures  ! !  ' 


1936.  Teynampet  Congress  grounds,  Madras.  Golden  Jubilee  Celebrations. 
Semmangudi-Rajamanickam-Dakshinamoorti  concert  started.  Dakshinamoorti  Pillai 
strangely  kept  two  mridangams  as  is  seen  in  folk  dances  one  over  the  other  and  played 
on  both  like  an  inspired  genius.  Labyrinths  of  laya  intricacies  were  laid  bare  and 
fingering  and  sound  variations  cascaded  throughout  and  he  was  the  cynosure  of  all  eyes. 
Concert  over,  his  euphoric  expression  was: 

"  *A*  class.  If  a  man  is  in  difficulty, 
how  can  I  refrain  from  giving  a  hand  to  help  him  ?  " 

Srinivasa  Ayyar  and  Rajamanickam  Pillai  understood  only  then  the  reason  for  the 
inspired  breezy  percussion  gala.  Ayyar  had  just  then  come  back  after  an  operation  for 
ENT  and  had  been  warned  against  exertion!  Unsolicited  help  is  the  best  of  help  indeed. 



Eight  decades  back,  Mahakavi  Subrahmania  Bharati  in  his  scholarly  treatise  ' 
Vishayam*  advised  musicians  to  look  to  the  public  for  patronage  as  the  days  of  rajas  and 
zamindars  were  numbered.  When  feudal  patronage  crumbled,  survival  of  arts  and  artists 
became  a  big  question  mark.  Government  patronage  was  halting  and  inadequate. 
Fortunately  Corporate  patronage  stepped  in  to  help  music,  painting,  sculpture  and 
architecture.  SAIL,  Air  India,  Tata,  Larsen  and  Toubro,  FTC,  VST,  CEAT,  Sarabhais, 
Lalbhais,  ESSO,  HMV,  etc.,  participated.  Sangeet  Sammelan  now  Sangeet  Research 
Academy,  Birla  Academy  of  Art  and  Culture,  Calcutta  and  the  National  Centre  of 
Performing  Arts,  Bombay  with  endowments  from  Tatas  and  Mafatlal  took  to  promoting 
classical  music.  In  recent  years,  companies  -  big  and  small  -  sponsor  specific 
programmes  and  concerts  though  not  concerts  on  Doordarshan.  In  this,  commercial 
advantages,  publicity  gains,  building  up  their  own  image  and  the  clout  enjoyed  by 
individual  artists  with  individual  commercial  units  play  a  significant  p&rt.  *  Often 
performances  are  doled  out  by  some  companies  more  as  a  bonus  from  personal  friendship 
than  any  laudable  concern  for  art.  *  A  prominent  nationalised  bank,  a  general  insurance 
company  and  one  or  two  companies  are  stated  to  maintain  some  balance  in  choosing  the 
beneficiaries.  But  for  sponsorship,  art  will  suffer. 

Artistes  have  always  faced  difficulties.  Samuel  Johnson  waited  on  Dr.  Radcliff, 
Master  of  his  old  College,  who  received  him  coldly.  (Thank  God,  India  is  hot.)  Johnson 
at  least  expected  that  the  master  would  order  for  a  copy  of  his  'Dictionary9;  but  the 
master  did  not  even  choose  to  talk  on  the  subject,  says  BoswelL 

"  There  lives  a  man  who  lives  by  the  revenues  of  literature  and 
will  not  move  a  finger  to  support  it !  * 

—  Samuel  Johnson 

Sponsorship  might  not  cost  even  as  touch  as  a  single  corporate  official's  benami  tour 
and  yet,  only  a  few  think  of  it! 


Public  life  in  Madras  badly  needs  the    august  presence,  ripe  wisdom  and  sage 
counsel  of 

Vayo  Vriddhas, 

Jnana  Vriddasand 

£ila  Vriddhas.  — Dr.  V.  Raghavan. 

Madras  had  these  in  abundance  during  the  first  half  of  the  20th  century.  An  impressive 
galaxy  of  greats  in  the  political,  cultural ,  religious,  art  and  every  other  walk  of  life  lent 
grace.  1850  - 1950  was  a  golden  era  without  doubt  in  Indian  history. 


JAGANNATHA  DASA  -  COMPOSER  :  (  1726  -  1809) 

Last  of  the  Dasas  of  Karnataka,  Jagannatha  Dasa  composed  suladis  and 
ugabhogas.  His  magnum  opus  'Harikathamritha  Sara '  is  reported  to  be  a  mine 
of  information  with  theological  truths.  Signature  :  Jagannatha  Vittala. 

Dr.  MANCHELLA  JAGANNATHA  RAO  .  VAINIKA  :  (Jany.  21, 1921  - 

July  30,  1985) 

Learnt  music  and  veena       Adiraju  Narasimhamurti,  R.  Padmanabha  Ayyar  and 
under :  his  wife,  Sitalakshmi  Ammal. 

Debut :  1 938  started  playing  for  All  India  Radio 

Posts  held  1 948  Staff  Artiste,  All  India  Radio  and  retired  as 

Producer.  Later  he  was  Emeritus  Producer. 

Rao  was  a  scholar  of  merit  and  a  vainika  "of  the  Andhra  style,  distinguished 
by  the  variety  of  'meettus1  used,  the  elaborate  right  hand  technique  and  high 
speed  passages." 

He  has  done  deep  research  in  the  padas  of  Kshetragna  and  the  compositions 
of  Bhadrachala  Ramadas,  opera  music  and  choral  music.  He  had  headed  the 
Tirupati  Devasthanam  school  to  propagate  Annamacharya  kirtanas. 

Publications  :          Eighteen  books  including  Kshetragna  Padams, 

Adhumika  Sangeetham  and 
Bhadrachala  Ramadas  Kirtanalu 

Honours  and  Titles      :          Kalapravina  by  Andhra  Pradesh  Sangita  Natak 

Akademy       1 980 

Honorary  Doctorate  by  Sri  Venkateswara  University    1 981 
Kala  Prapurna  by  the  Andhra  University  1 985 


Janaki  Achuthan  was  an  assistant  commercial  tax  officer  prior  to  her  volun- 
tary retirement.  In  the  male  dominated  art  of  playing  mridangam,  she  inherited 
the  taste  from  K.  Sankara  Menon  of  Trichur,  a  renowned  player  who  had 
accompanied  the  maestros  of  his  days.  Janaki  learnt  the  art  from  her  father  and 
then  from  Vadakancherry  Lakshminarayana  Iyer,  Muharsing  R.  Elumalai,  the 


all-time  wizard  T.S.  Mani  Ayyar  and  Dr.  T.K.  Murti.  Her  sisters  are  musicians. 
She  has  accompanied  prominent  artistes  and  is  a  graded  artiste  of  AH  India 
Radio  and  Doordarshan, 

Had  won  the  All  India  Radio  Music  Competition  Award  and  the  Indian  Fine 
Arts  Society  Award  in  1985. 


(b.  July  12, 1928.) 

11  Sing,  Sing  Ye  forth  your  songs  of  praise, 
Ye  Prjyamedhas,  sing  your  songs  ".  -  Atharva  Veda  XCIl-5, 

Janakiraman,  S.R.  was  the  distinguished  Head  of  the  Department  of 
Musicology,  S.V.  College  of  Music  and  Dance,  Tirupati  for  twenty-eight  long 
years  and  is  now  Research  Officer,  Music  Academy,  Madras.  Earlier  he  was 
with  the  Besant  Theosophical  College,  Madanapalle  during  1955-60.  A  relent- 
less seeker  of  the  underlying  basic  principles,  idealogies  and  truths  in  the  allied 
but  conflicting  fields  of  lakshana  and  lakshya  of  Carnatic  music,  seeking  its  parts 
as  forming  an  organic  whole,  S.R.J,,  as  he  is  well  known  in  music  circles,  is  one 
of  the  few  competent  authorities  on  music  and  musicology  who  can  keep  the  lay 
and  the  professional  spellbound  for  hours  with  masterly,  sometimes  devastating, 
exposition  and  thought-provoking  elucidation.  His  assessments  are  well 
balanced  and  original.  At  the  Bharatiya  Vidya  Bhavan  on  August  8,  1990,  he 
observed  : 

'Music  is  an  inexact  science;  can  change  from  time  to  time  :  its  rules  are 
ever  -  changing.  Music  appreciation  4-  Tradition  +  Change  constitute  the  health 
and  swaroopa  of  music  at  a  given  time.  Consistent  with  tradition  and  conven- 
tions, innovation  is  vital  but  it  should  not  lose  its  firm  moorings  in  Carnatic 

Janakiraman  is  not  only  a  master  of  musicology  but  is  a  vocalist  of  high 
calibre.  As  a  teacher,  he  has  handled  all  classes  at  Sri  Venkateswara  University 
and  the  M.A.  class  of  Sri  Padmavati  Women's  University  -  both  at  Tirupati.  Side 
by  side,  he  has  been  giving  concerts  on  the  All  India  Radio  and  sabhas  in  the 
country.  He  has  presented  numerous  papers  and  lecture-cum-demonstrations 
at  different  universities  and  institutions.  A  forceful  yet  refined  speaker  com- 
manding a  rich  vocabulary,  he  has  a  vast  repertoire  of  sources  and  authorities 
to  sustain  and  substantiate  sans peuret sans  reproche  (fearless  and  faultless). 
His  forceful  speeches  would  seem  to  draw  inspiration  from  Lord  Keynes' 


1  Words  ought  to  be  a  little  wild  because  they  represent 
the  assault  of  thought  upon  the  unthinking  !  ' 

Other  posts  held  :  Member,  Experts'  Advisory  Committee,  Music  Academy, 

Madras  since  1 978. 

Dean,  Faculty  of  Fine  Arts,  Nagarjuna  University  -5  years 

Chairman  &  Member  of  Examining  Boards  of  different 


Member,  Board  of  Studies  since  1 962 

Visiting  Professor  of  Musicology,  Govt.  College  of  Music, 
Madras,  Kalakshetra  &  Annamalai  University. 

Senior  Professor,  Music  Academy  Teachers'  College 

Research  Officer,  Music  Academy,  Madras. 

Titles  &  Honours  :  Honoured  by  the  Andhra  Pradesh  Sangeeth  Natak 

Academy  in  1 968  and  1 976. 

Madras  Music  Academy  Awards  in  1 977,  1 983  &  1 988. 

T.T.K.  Memorial  Award 

Certificate  of  Merit  from  Music  Academy,  Madras. 

Sangita  Kala  Jyoti  from  Suswara,  Madras 

Jnana  Saraswati  Peeth  Award,  1 990. 

Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar  Award  1 991 . 

Apart  from  the  numerous  papers  presented  by  him  on  art  forms,  methodol- 
ogy, systems,  aesthetics  and  various  other  aspects  of  music  and  musicology,  he 
is  the  author  of  'Sangeetha  Sastra  Saramu*  (two  volumes)  in  telugu  published 
in  1986  -  89.  Evolution  and  history  of  raga  lakshanas,  important  concepts 
presented  in  various  works  from  Natya  Sastra  to  Sangraha  Chudamani  have 
been  correlated  and  explained.  The  two  volumes  cover  the  entire  gamut  of  the 
theory  and  practice  of  Carnatic  music.'  (TSP) 

Disc  recordings  : 

Janakiraman  has  given  a  general  elaboration  of  the  history  and  technical 
aspects  of  Varna  with  representative  specimen  in  a  video  cassette  titled  'On 
Varnam  Through  Ages'  comprising  four  tana  varnas  in  Ata  tala,  three  pada 
varnas,  etc.  He  explains  that  Varna  is  God's  gift  to  world's  musical  thought 
peculiar  to  Carnatic  music  alone  evolved  early  in  the  1 8th  century.  The  video 
documentation  would  seem  to  be  the  first  of  its  kind  for  Carnatic  music. 

Born  of  Dr.  Rangaswamy  Iyer  and  LR.  Gowri  Ammal,  his  education  and 
musical  training  covered  : 


B.A.  from  Sri  Venkateswara  University,  Tirupati 
Sangeetha  Siromani  from  Madras  University 
Sangeetha  Vidwan  from  the  Govt.  College  of  Carnatic  Music,  Madras 

(with  distinction) 
Diploma  from  Kalakshetra  1 945-49. 

Had  his  vocal  training  under  stalwarts  like  Alathur  Venkatesa  Ayyar,  Sathur 
Krishna  Ayyangar,  Tiger  Varadachariar  and  Budalur  Krishnamurti  Sastry  and 
studied  musicology  under  P.K.  Rajagopala  Ayyar  and  Prof.  P.  Sambamurty. 

Prof.  Janakiraman  is  a  senior  and  honoured  musician  and  musicologist 
whose  expert  opinions  are  highly  valued.  A'serious  research  -  oriented  thinker, 
he  is  original  in  his  constant  endeavours  to  reach  and  lay  open  the  hidden  values 
and  secrets  of  classical  music.  The  musicologist-vocalist-pedagogue  should 
naturally  come  up  for  the  top  honours  of  the  Music  Academy  in  the  near  future. 

JANAKI  SUBRAMANIAM  -  VOCALIST  (b.  December  2, 1930) 

The  dichotomy  of  the  musical  career  of  Janaki  Subramaniam  is  greed,  an 
insatiate  longing  to  learn  everything  in  music  from  everyone  of  merit  and 
acceptance  of  Tyagaraja's  'Nidhi  Chala  Sukhama'  dictum.  Starting  with  her 
mother  Lakshammal  while  yet  a  child,  Janaki  Subramaniam  has  had  her  training 
under  Nemam  Krishnamurty  Bhagavatar,  Manakkal  Mani,  Varadarajan  and 
Apathsahayam  Iyer,  K.  Lalitha,  K.J.  Nathan,  Madhava  Rao,  Bangalore 
Nagarathinamma,  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavathar,  Maharajapuram  Viswanatha 
Ayyar,  S.G.  Krishnan  and  N.S.  Ramachandran.  Has  she  stopped?  No.  She,  at 
the  age  of  sixty,  is  a  disciple  of  M.A.  Narasimhachar  and  Mathur  Shankaramurty. 
Not  enough  to  quench  her  thirst,  she  learnt  North  Indian  music  from  an  equally 
impressive  galaxy  including  Ustad  Hafeez  Ahmed  Khan,  etc.  She  is,  besides, 
a  graduate  in  arts  and  in  music  too.  This  is  one  aspect  of  her  career. 

Endowed  with  a  sweet  voice,  Janaki  Subramaniam  renders  the  kritis,  etc. 
with  understanding  and  feeling  and  her  handling  of  sahitya  is  clear.  She  is  one 
of  the  artistes  who  have  proved  that  the  concept  'Nidhi  Chala  Sukhame*  by 
dedicating  her  music  to  philanthropy  of  various  good  causes  from  the  Prime 
Minister's  Relief  Fund  to  the  Kanchi  Kamakoti  Sri  Sankara  Mutt  and 
Kanchipuram  Sri  Kamakshi  Amman  temple  services.  'Serve  God  and  His 
people  through  Melody'  has  been  the  keynote  of  her  life  throughout.  That  is 
the  other  aspect. 

Daughter  of  Prof.  S.  Ganapati  Subramaniam  of  Presidency  College,  Madras 
and  Lakshammal,  brother's  daughter  of  G.A.  Natesan,  Editor  of  the  renowned 

anrl  HQI  inht<ar_ in_lau/  of  Hr    k'    Rarniah    thA 


her  mother,  her  sisters  too  were  well  trained  in  music.  Made  her 
maiden  performance  at  the  age  of  seven  at  the  Tyagaraja  Samadhi, 
Tiruvaiyaru  in  the  presence  of  the  famed  Bangalore  Nagarathinamma  fol- 
lowed by  concerts  at  the  Mambalam  Siva  Vishnu  Temple  and  the  Fine  Arts 
Society,  Madras.  Hundreds  of  others  ensued  on  the  All  India  Radio  and  at 
various  centres  in  India  and  abroad.  While  young,  she  had  sung  at  the  prayer 
meetings  of  Mahatma  Gandhi.  One  photo  of  1 951  shows  her  amidst  stalwarts 
like  Bangalore  Nagarathinamma,  Madurai  Mani  Ayyar,  T.K.  Jayarama  Ayyar 
and  Rajamanickam  Pillai.  Quite  a  proud  image  without  doubt.  Her  acquain- 
tance with  twelve  languages  enables  lavish  contacts  in  life.  Had  performed 
before  the  top  political  leaders  of  India.  Has  founded  the  Karnataka  Kala 
Mandali  and  Bharati  Mandram  for  bharatanatyam. 

Honours  &  Titles  :  Award  from  the  Sangeet  Natak  Academy,  Bihar  1 966. 

Bhakti  Sangeetha  Rathna  by  Shivananda  Cultural 
Association,  New  Delhi  1 970. 

Honoured  by  Citizens  Council,  Rotary,  Lions,  etc., 
besides  Awards  from  Music  Academy  and  other 

Concert  tours  abroad  :          W.  Germany,  U.K.,  U.S.A.,  Switzerland  (both  Carnatic 

music  and  Shamegazal). 

Cassettes  :  Quite  a  large  number  of  devotional  and  spiritual  items. 

Geneva  -based  Chitra  Subramaniam,  the  investigative  journalist  who  hit  the 
headlines  in  1989-1990,  is  her  daughter. 

R.  S.  JAYALAKSHMI  -  VEENA  ARTISTE:  (b.  July  8,  1950) 

Parents  :         R.  Subramaniam  &  Janaki  Subramaniam. 

Musical  training  under :         V.  Raghavan,  G,  Lakshmanan  and  R.  Pitchumani  under 

a  Government  of  India  scholarship. 

Qualifications  :         Bachelor  of  Arts  in  Indian  Music,  Teacher's  Training  Course. 

Post  held  :         Veena  Assistant,  University  of  Madras  - 1 5  years. 

Jayalakshmi  has  been  giving  performances  on  the  All  India  Radio,  Sabhas, 
etc.  and  is  one  of  the  good  performers. 


Adventure  &  Perfection 

'Adventure  and  Perfection  are  the  twin  essentials  for 
musical  effervescence.  Adventure,  of  course,  carries  the  risk  of  failure. 

But  Perfection  insures  against  it  and  wards  off  failure.' 
—  G.N.  Balasubramaniain  :    (Source:  Dr.  M.L.  Vasantakumari) 


LALGUDI  G.  JAYARAMAN  -  VIOLIN  MAESTRO:  (  b.  Sept  17, 1930  ) 

Born  of  Gopala  Ayyar  and  Savitri  Ammal  at  Lalgudi,  Jayaraman,  popularly 
known  as  'Lalgudi',  has  the  unique  distinction  of  being  in  the  direct  lineage  of 
Rama  Ayyar,  a  direct  disciple  of  Tyagarajah.  Rural  environment,  profound 
musical  heritage  and  well-directed  training  under  his  father  and  his  paternal 
uncle,  Kandaswami  Bhagavatar  of  Madurai  gave  young  Jayaraman  immense 
potential  and  scope  for  imbibing  confidence  and  expertise  to  flower  forth  into  a 
magnificent  violinist  of  the  day.  If  Ghanam  Krishna  Ayyar  would  run  to  the 
peaceful  Kabistalam  and  Ariyakudi  Ramanuja  Ayyangar  to  unfrequented  haunts; 
to  have  uninhibited  practice  with  none  but^God  and  one's  own  soul  to  witness, 
the  then  quiet  Lalgudi  provided  Jayaraman  with  the  captivating  environment 
and  unpolluted  vigranti,  a  sine  qua  non  for  imbibing  and  assimilating  soulful 
classical  music.  Rightly  Jayaraman  considers  that  the  stress-prone  urban 
climate  of  the  present  day  is  not  conducive  to  intensive  practice.  He,  his 
forefathers  and  great  men  like  the  maestros  of  Tirukodikaval,  Tiruvaiyaru, 
Tiruppunthuruti,  Maharajapuram  and  Mudicondan  were  fortunate  in  having  the 
benefit  of  the  exhilarating  calm  and  pristine  peace  for  intensive  practice.  He  had 
also  the  benefit  of  assimilating  the  diverse  styles  of  stalwarts  while  young.  At 
home  he  took  his  diploma  in  vocal  and  graduated  in  violin  under  his  father. 

Lalgudi  Jayaraman's  self-evident  musical  skill  had  perfected  itself  when  he 
made  his  debut  at  the  Perambur  Sangeetha  Sabha,  Madras  in  1 947.  Next  year 
he  made  his  advent  at  the  Music  Academy,  Madras.  In  the  meantime  he  had 
played  for  Madurai  Mani  Ayyar,  who  had  earlier  heard  his  violin-play  on  the  radio 
and  told  T.S.  Parthasarathy,  This  young  vidwan  has  a  great  future  in  the  musical 
world1.  G.N.  Balasubramaniam,  who  heard  him  at  the  Music  Academy, 
straightaway  booked  him  for  a  concert  on  February  10,1947.  Then  ensued 
hundreds  of  concerts  till  1986  when  his  switch-over  to  solos  became  complete 
and  total.  There  was  no  musical  worthy  to  whom  he  had  not  provided 
accompaniment  from  Mazhavarayanendal  Subbarama  Bhagavatar,  a  giant 
among  the  old  stalwarts  to  O.S.  Tyagarajan  of  the  present  and  few 
percussionists  are  there  who  had  not  played  with  or  for  him.  An  eka  sanda  grahi, 
his  innate  genius  drew  musical  wisdom  and  inspiration  while  young  from  varied 
sources  like  Madurai  Mani  Ayyar,  G.N.  Balasubramaniam,  Alathur  Brothers, 
Mudicondan  Venkatarama  Ayyar  and  Palani  Subramania  Pillai.  The  challenging 
allocations  with  Flute  Mali  and  Veena  Balachander  enabled  him  to  find  exacting 
rhythm  and  excellence  at  the  best.  Experience  helped  him  to  evolve  a  unique 
style,  all  his  own;  and  he  started  giving  solos  with  his  sister,  Srimathi 
Brahmanandam  from  1958  and  continue  with  his  son  G.J.R.  Krishnan  since 
1973  and  his  daughter  J.  Vijayalakshmi  since  1979. 

Lalgudi  evolved  a  unique  presentation  of  the  three  V  s  -  Violin,  Veena  and 
Venu  (flute)  and  was  one  of  the  earliest  to  present  jugalbandis  with  Ustad  Vilayat 
Khan,  Pandit  Chaurasia  and  Amjad  Ali  Khan  highlighting  the  complementary 


character  of  the  raga-based  twins,  the  Carnatic  and  the  Hindustani  systems. 

His  musicianship  is  massive  and  his  felicitous  play  vibrant,  fresh,  captivating 
and  innovative.  The  tone  is  caressing,  confident  and  soothing,  He  draws  out 
beautiful  phrases  -  at  once  sensitive  and  deep  -  all  within  the  portals  of  true 
sampradaya.  He  has  no  faith  in  gimmicks.  As  Gowri  Ramnarayan  says,  'he  has 
shown  very  effectively  that  one  can  set  new  trends  and  innovate  to  the  delight 
of  changing  audiences  the  world  over  while  retaining  the  essential  traditionally 
of  Carnatic  classicism'. 

His  views  are  robust  and  constructive.  Says  that  classical  music  is  like  rare 
ayurvedic  herbs  to  be  cautiously  nurtured  and  carefully  protected,  that  learning 
vocal  music  is  vital  before  taking  to  instruments  to  equip  and  enlighten  oneself 
with  sruti  and  swara  perfection,  sahitya  suddham  and  gamaka  variations  and 
that  a  calm  and  peaceful  atmosphere  conduces  concentrated  practice  and 
development  of  artistic  excellence.  Lalgudi  echoes  Bekara  Rama  Amatya  and 
Mudicondan  Venkatarama  Ayyar  when  he  avers  that  'Music  should  not  belittle 
Melody'.  He  is  against  the  boisterous  thumping  variety  of  rendition  like  Veena 
Dhanammal  as  it  fails  to  bring  out  the  benign  soul  and  tranquilizing  charm  of  the 
classical.  Accompanying  stalwarts  provides  a  challenge  to  the  violinist  but  he 
has  taken  to  solos  totally  as  the  entire  panorama  is  before  him  to  explore  and 
project;  and  his  image  too  admits  only  that. 


A  talented  composer,  his  varnams,  tillanas  and  pada  \%rnams  became 
instantly  popular.  His  Dwijavanti and  Mohana  Kalyani  tillanas  are  masterpieces. 
He  sees  the  beauty  of  the  lyrics  with  a  loving  heart  and  presents  them  with  such 
colourful  artistry  and  melodic  identity  that  the  compositions  come  out  with 
immaculate  clarity  highlighting  the  bhava  in  full  glow.  The  compositions  are 
very  popular  both  with  musicians  and  dancers.  Here  they  are: 

Jatiswaram   ;             Rasikapriya                                                 —  Adi 

Varnams       :  Sixteen  including- 

DevarMunivar  Shanmugapriya    -  Adi 

Innam  En  Manam  Charukesi             -  Adi 

SendilMevum  Neelambari          -  Adi 

Tillanas         :  Behag,  Hamir  Kalyani,  Maduvanti,  Revati,  Tilang,  etc  ragas- 

29  Nos. 

Kritis  5  and 

Orchestral  pieces        5. 

'His  varnams  and  tillanas  serve  as  admirable  models  for  intellectual 
appreciation  and  understanding.  Have  great  pedagogic  value.'  (Sulochana 


Disc  recordings:      Quite  a  large  number . 

'Lalgudi  Pancha  Ratna  Kritis'ol  Tyagaraja  with  notation  (1971). 

Honours  &  Titles: 

Nadha  Vidya  Thilaka  By  Lalgudi  Music  Lovers'  Association.  1 963 

Nadha  Vidya  Ratnakara  By  East  West  Exchange  Inc.  New  York.  1 971 

Vadhya  Sangeeta  Kala  Ratna  By  Bharati  Society,  New  York  1 971 

Sangeetha  Choodamani  By  Federation  of  Music  Sabhas,  Madras.  1 971 

Padma  Sri  By  the  President  of  India  1 972 

Sangeet  Natak  Akademy  Award  1 978 

State  Vidwan,  Tamil  Nadu         By  the  Government  of  Tamil  Nadu  1 979 

Kalaimamani  By  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram  1 979 

Asthana  Vidwan  Urumalai  Tlrupati  Devasthanams  1 979 

Nadha  Vendhan  By  Sangeethalaya,  Kuala  Lumpur  1 979 

Bharata  Sangeeta  Ratna          By  Sri  Parthasarathi  Gana  Sabha, 

Bangalore  1 980 

National-level  Award  By  Chowdiah  Memorial  1 982 

Saptagiri  Sangita  Vidwan  Mani  By  Tyagaraja  Trust,  Tirupati  1 988 

Sangita  Kalasagara  By  Visakha  Music  Academy  1 991 . 

Lalgudi  Jayaraman  is  a  Member  of  the  Experts  Committee  of  the  Madras 
Music  Academy  and  is  the  Convenor-Trustee,  Kanchi-Kamakoti  Peeta 
Karnataka  Sangeetha  Seva  Trust.  The  presentation  of  an  Italian  violin  by  Yehudi 
Menuhin  captivated  by  the  vibrant  excellence  of  his  violin-play  deserves  special 

March  8,  1992  was  a  landmark  in  the  sparkling  life  of  Jayaraman  when  he 
gave  his  first,  a  scintillating  vocal  concert  before  a  crowded  house  apparently 
'to  express  himself  with  a  greater  degree  of  fulfilment  and  in  a  search  for  a  larger 
identity.  Surprisingly  the  concert  revealed  a  voice  full  of  depth  and  flexibility,  a 
double-reed  tone  producing^  an  invigorating  blend  of  soaring  lifts,  elegant 
moods  and  emphatic  thrusts'  (KSM).  (It  was  no  casual  stunt  as  those  of  a  Sunil 
Gavaskar  jocularly  mimicking  the  bowling  of  Abdul  Khader  or  of  a  Javed  Mianded 
monkeying  the  style  of  Kiran  More.)  The  vidwan  was  at  the  real  best  confident 
of  his  style  born  of  the  rich  legacy  compounded  by  his  own  proud  experiences 
of  four  decades  and  a  half. 

Concert  tours: 

U.SA,  U.K.  (Edinborough  Music  Festival  1965  &  Festival  of  India  1982), 
Europe,  Canada,  Middle  East,  Malaysia,  Indonesia,  Singapore,  Phillipines,  etc. 



Quite  a  number  including  his  sister,  son  and  daughter.  The  maestro  regrets 
that  many  a  competent  trainee  switches  over  to  giving  concerts  before  reaching 
the  acme  of  perfection. 

A  thoroughly  inspired  violinist,  vocalist  and  teacher,  'Lalgudi'  combines  the 
affluence  of  an  intellectual  with  effulgent  mastery  and  radiant  command  of  the 
art,  sure  competence  and  exuberent  style  and  enjoys  wide  popularity  and 
respect.  A  genius,  he  is  a  creative  artiste;  his  soullf  ul  rendition  impregnates  the 
mind  with  ecstatic  fulfilment  satisfying  Paul  Brunton's  norm: 

'  What  is  the  final  call  of  true  art  ? 
Not  to  the  work  which  expresses  it ; 
But  to  the  spirit  which  inspires  it, 
The  divine  source  of  which  it  reminds  us. ' 

Art  is  best  when  it  liberates,  motivates  and  transports  the  listener  to 
ever-fresh  realms  of  mysteriously  sweet  exhilaration  exposed  to  inspired 
flashes.  Jayaraman  has  that  art.  He  is  the  guiding  spirit  behind  the  annual 
celebrations  of  the  Festival  of  the  Trinity  at  Tiruvarur. 



Thiruvizha*  means  Festival  and  when  the  birth-place  of  Jayasankar  in 
Allepey  district  of  Kerala  is  itself  called  so,  naturally  music  has  to  be  an  innate 
urge  and  qualification.  His  father  and  guru,  Tiruvizha  Raghava  Panicker  had 
won  many  awards  and  honours.  Jayasankar's  musical  training  quite  strangely 
kept  pace  with  his  scholastic  studies.  In  1962,  he  became  the  first  graduate 
nagaswara  vidwan  with  Music  and  Philosophy  as  his  subjects.  He  got  his 
'Ganabhooshanam'  (Vocal)  diploma  from  Tirupunithura  R.L.V.  Music  Academy 
and  'Ganapraveena'  from  Sri  Swati  Tirunal  Sangeetha  College,  Trivandrum  in 

He  made  his  debut  accompanying  the  famous  nagaswara  maestro, 
Ambalapuzha  Sankaranarayana  Panicker  at  Kayamkulam  in  1 952  and  got  a  gold 
medal  from  the  maestro.  1956  saw  him  winning  the  All  India  Radio  contest 
medal,  His  desire  not  to  sacrifice  his  college  course  deprived  him  of  the  benefit 
of  availing  the  Central  Government  Scholarship  for  advanced  training  in  1958. 

Tiruvizha  Jayasankar  is  a  Staff  Artiste  with  the  All  India  Radio  since  1965 
and  has  given  concerts  all  over  India  and  at  all  the  principal  sabhas,  All  India 
Radio,  television,  etc.  In  legal  parlance,  a  vested  interest  is  created  if 
uninterrupted  user  continues  for  twelve  years  and  over.  Jayasankar  is  a  regular 


performer  for  twelve  years  at  the  famous  temples  of  Lord  Muruga  at  Palani  and 
Tiruchendur.  Does  he  not  acquire  a  right  to  perform  annually  before  the  Celestial 
Lord  of  Beauty  and  Benediction?  Likewise,  the  Tamil  Isai  Annual  Music  Festival 
commences  with  his  concert  only  since  1974. 

Drawing  inspiration  from  the  Master  of  Melody  T.N.  Rajarathinam,  he 
availed  of  violin  and  mridangam  in  lieu  of  tavil  at  Madras  in  1970  as 

Honours  and  Titles: 

Sunadhabhushana  by  Chembai  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar 

at  Madras  ,   1970. 

Award  by  Kerala  Sangeetha  Nataka  Academy  1 982. 

Nagaswara  Praveena  by  the  Fine  Arts  Society,  Ernakulam  1 982 

Nagaswara  Isaimani,  -i 

Nadaswara  Isai  Arasu  j     by  Mohanur  Kanthamalai  Murugan  Koil 
Nagaswara  Ratna  by  the  Calicut  Marar  Kshema  Sabha, 

Kalaimamani  by  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram       1 992. 

Concert  tours: 

Paris  -  Festival  of  India  in  1985 
Berlin,  Leipzig,  Dresden,  etc. 

Disc  recordings  : 

Quite  a  number  including  two  with  vocal  support  by  S.  Janaki  and  Sundararaj'an  with 
Valayapatti  Subramaniam  on  tavil 

Films : 

1  Bhaja  Govindam  '  with  Yesudas  as  vocalist  and 
'  Bala  Parikshai  '  with  T.M.  Soundara  Rajan  and  P.  Suseela  as  vocalists 
1  Swara  Raga  Sudha  '  with  his  participation  has  been  brought  out  in 
four  languages. 

Jayasankar  has  inherited  a  rich  legacy  of  musical  talents  and  is  one  of  the 
most  popular  nagaswara  artistes  in  good  demand. 




Stated  to  be  the  only  saxophonist  in  Carnatic  music,  Gopalnath  hails  from  a 
nagaswara  family  of  Mangalore.  Known  for  his  lyrical  music  on  saxophone,  his 
proficiency  enabled  him  to  participate  in  the  Jazz  India  Music  Festival  and  the 
International  Music  Festival  in  Czechoslovakia.  Has  been  giving  concerts  on 
the  All  India  Radio,  Doordarshan,  etc. 

KALIDAS  N.  NILAKANTA  AYYAR  -  PEDAGOGUE  :  (b.Novr.16, 1903) 

A  distinguished  teacher  who  has  embellished  many  teaching  assignments 
in  Madras,  Kalidas  Nilakanta  Ayyar  belongs "  to  the  Manambuchavadi 
Venkatasubbier  line  of  Tyagaraja's  disciples.  Had  his  studies  in  music  under  his 
father  Narayanaswami  Ayyar  and  joined  the  Kalakshetra,  Madras  as  teacher. 
He  has  notated  several  of  Ramaswamy  Sivan's  songs  adding  chitta  swaras. 
Was  Teacher-Principal,  Music  Academy  College  and  Professor  of  Music  at  the 
University  of  Madras. 

P.  KALINGA  RAO  -  COMPOSER  &  VOCALIST;  (b.1915) 

Place  of  birth:  Pandiswara  near  Kundapur  in  Karnataka 

Name  of  father:  Puttayya 

A  musician  with  a  fine  personality,  he  joined  while  young  the  dramatic  troupe 
of  Ranganatha  Bhatta  and  donned  lead  roles  and  was  famous  for  playing  lady 
characters.  Simultaneously  he  learnt  Carnatic  and  Hindustani  music  and  was 
giving  concerts.  Kalinga  Rao  went  over  to  Madras  and  joined  the  Hindi  Prachar 
Sabha  and  was  composing  songs  for  dramas  introducing  Western  styles  too. 
He  was  a  popular  radio  artiste. 

KALLADAR  -  TAMIL  MUSICOLOGIST :  (8th  or  11th  century  A.D.) 

Kafladam  was  his  native  village  as  well  as  the  name  of  his  work  in  tamil. 
Kalladam  katravarodu  malladadhe  (Don't  enter  into  argument  with  one  who  has 
mastered  Kalladam)  is  a  proverb.  He  is  brought  into  this  book  for  his  very 
succinct  summary  of  "Musicians'  faults"  and  The  Ten  Beauties  of  Music'  in  his 
work  Agapporul  Nool. 


Faults  of  Musicians: 

11  Vayirukuzhi  vangi,  azhumugam  kattadhu 
Nagi,  kakuli,  vedikural,  veliai 
PegakkizhiQai,  orupuram  ottal 
Nettuyirppu  eridhal,  erindhu  nindru  erattal 
Osai  ezhidhal,  kazhinokku  ennap 
Peqaru  kuravum  aagodum  matri. " 

(Contracting  the  belly,  weeping  facial  expression, 

slipping  from  one  tanam  to  another,  roaring  like  a  ghost, 

bland  singing  devoid  of  'mathrai,  tanam,  etc/, 

adopting  a  hard  bass  tone,  sidelining  the  soul  of  musical  rendition, 

slipping  from  one  pan/7  to  another,  tone  resembling  crow's, 

bristling  multiplicity  of  tones, 

casual  approach  or  laziness, 

uncontrolled  voice,  opening  mouth  uncouthly, 

absence  of  concentration  and  trembling  of  tuft 



The  last  of  the  faults  has  not  much  currency  now  as  tufts  are  a  vanishing 

Ten  Beauties  of  Music  : 

"  Vandin  thariyum  kanja  naadhamum 
eral  van  nifaiyum  kazhai  elal  vizhvadhum 
Aruvi  ogaiyum  muzhavin  muzhakkamum 
Valampuri  gathamum  verukinpunarchiyum 
Innum  endrigaiyappap  palliya  vidhiyodu 
Mandharam  madhiyam  tharam  eval  moondrum 
Thullal  Thoongal  thellithin  melidhal 
Koodiya  ghanam  anbodu  parava. " 

(Humming  of  the  beetle, 

resonant  sound  of  bronze  instruments, 

fish-picker's  swiftness  and  mode, 

the  fall  of  the  bamboo  leaf 

—  gamaka  ornamentation  in  avarohana  - 

sound  of  the  rivulet,  spring  channel 

-  voice  modulation  -, 

sound  of  large  percussive  instruments, 

-  contrasting  rendition  -, 
sound  of  valampuri  conch, 
passionate  calls  of  the  male  cat  in  heat 

-  aggressive  grip  and  emphasis  — , 


adopting  good  raga,  sahitya  and  methods 
covering  lower,  middle  and  upper  octaves, 
fleeting  incursions,  contrasting  with 
slow  delineations  in  the  three  octaves, 
soft  fine-tuning,  mellifluous  tone, 
let  music  with  these  attributes  flourish  ! 

How  will  it  then  be? 

It  will  be  like  a  rain  of  honey  on  a  hillock  of  sugar1-  (garukkarai  kundrir  then 
mazhai  nandrena),  says  Kalladar. 

Prof.  S.  KALPAKAM  -  VIOLINIST:  (b.  September  21, 1917) 

Prof.  S.  Kalpakam,  M.A.,  B.G.L,  was  Professsor  in  Music  for  about  twenty 
years  in  S.P.W.  College,  Tirupati  and  was  on  the  Board  of  Studies  in  Music,  Sri 
Venkateswara  University.  She  has  been  providing  violin  accompaniment  to 
prominent  musicians  and  giving  solo  recitals.  Has  set  to  tune  compositions  of 
Annamacharya  in  the  original  ragas  indicated  in  the  copper  plates  on  which 
12,000  songs  of  the  Bard  are  inscribed  and  which  are  in  the  possession  of 
Tirumalai  Tirupati  Devasthanams  now.  A  disciple  of  Dwaram  Venkataswami 
Naidu,  Kalpakam  learnt  vocal  music  also  and  is  active  enough  to  give  recitals. 


Parents  :       Seetharaman  and  Abhayambal 

Place  of  birth  ;       Chetalapatti ,  Tanjore  district 

Kalpakam  Swaminathan  had  her  musical  training  initially  under  her  mother 
and  later  music  with  veena  under  Anantakrishna  Ayyar,  T.L.  VenkataramaAyyar, 
Budalur  Krishnarnoorti  Sastri  and  Musiri  Subramania  Ayyar.  Her  training  in 
music  has  thus  been  under  highly  competent  stalwarts.  Started  giving  radio 
concerts  from  the  age  of  twelve.  An  authority  in  Dikshitar  kritis,  she  is  a  staunch 
devotee  of  traditional  music  and  methods. 

Has  been  Professor  in  Veena,  Government  College  of  Carnatic  Music, 
Madras  (now  a  training  centre).  Has  served  in  several  selection  committees. 
She  is  one  of  the  respected  members  of  the  musical  fraternity. 


Titles  and  Honours        :       Kalairnamani  from  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka 

Mandram  in  1980. 

Certificate  of  Merit  from  the  Music  Academy  in  1 989. 
Disc  recordings. 




Place  of  birth  :      Manjappara  in  Palghat. 

Name  of  father  &  guru    :       M.K.  Anantarama  Bhagavatar, 

VeenaVidwan  of  Travancore  Palace. 

Academic  Qualification  :      Intermediate  (Collegiate) 

Posts  held  :      Music  Professor  at  the  Swati  Tirunal  Academy, 

Trivandrum  from  its  inception  to  1 944. 

Professor  of  Music,  Central  College  of  Carnatic  Music, 
Madras-  1949-1967 

Principal,  Sri  Ramanathan  College  of  Music,  Ceylon  - 


Visiting  Professor,  Wesleyan  University,  U.S.A. 
Honours  &  Titles  :       Kerala  Sangeeth  Nataka  Mandram  Award,  1 962 

Asthana  Vidwan,  Travancore  Palace. 
Concert  tours  :      Ceylon  and  USA. 

Disc  recordings  : 

LPR  from  his  performance  in  1973  at  the  United  Nations  with  his  daughter  Lakshmi 

Kalyanakrishna  Bhagavatar  hailed  from  a  family  of  veena  vidwans  and  was 
a  sixth  generation  artiste.  Grandfather  Kalyanakrishna  Bhagavatar  (1 847  - 1  891 ) 
was  famous  for  his  original  style  of  veena  play,  which  came  to  be  hailed  as  the 
Travancore  style  and  his  great  grandfather  Venkitadri  Bhagavatar  (1 81 4  - 1 884) 
was  a  Court  musician  during  Swati  Tirunal's  reign,  M.A.  Kalyanakrishna 
Bhagavatar  was  a  prominent  and  popular  veena  vidwan,  equally  felicitous  in 
giving  vocal  concerts.  He  had  given  a  large  number  of  concerts  on  the  All  India 
Radio  and  elsewhere.  The  disciples  of  the  life-long  veena  teacher  included 
Maharani  Kartigai  Tirunal,  daughter  Lakshmi  Ranganathan  and  Rajeswari 
Menon,  a  performing  artiste.  P.  Hariharan  says,  'He  sang  whatever  he  could 
play  on  veena  and  played  on  veena  whatever  he  could  sing'.  He  was  a  favourite 
with  all  from  his  young  days  and  was  called  by  the  pet  name  of  'Krishna  Mani'. 


(b.June  6,  1947) 

Place  of  birth  Tiruvalaputhur 

Parents  :       V.  Arunachalam  Pillai  -  Rajamani  AmmaL 

Musical  heritage  :       Vaithilingam*Pillai,  grandfather  was  mridangist.  His 

brother  Pasupathia  Pillai  was  a  tavil  stalwart  of  his 

Musical  training  :        Under  maternal  uncle  N.Kadirvel  Pillai  -  Three  years 

Under  Pasupathia  Pillai,  great  grandfather  at  - 


Kaliamurthy  is  a  distinguished  artiste  in  tavil  providing  'special'  tavil 
accompaniment  ('Special'  in  percussion  circles  denotes  selection-grade  status 
and  seniority)  to  the  nagaswaram  maestros  of  Tiruvenkadu,  Tiruvizhimalalai, 
Namagiripettai,  etc.  and  to  Madurai  Brothers  and  Clarinet  A.K.C.  Natarajan. 
Has  coached  about  thirty  tavil  trainees.  Has  participated  in  music  festivals.  He 
was  a  judge  in  the  Local  Audition  Committee  of  All  India  Radio. 

Concert  tours  ;       Sri  Lanka,  U.S.A.,  Canada 

Titles  : 

Layagnana  Tavil  Arasu  by  Sri  Venkateswara  Bhakta  Sabha,  Madras,  1968 

Sunatha  Tavil  Isai  Chakravarti 

Janaranja  Tavil  Isai  Chakravarti 

Din  Dama  Kalanipuna  Makuda  Ratna 

Bala  Bhishveswara  by  Vidwans  of  Karnataka  State. 

Kalaimamani  by  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram  in  1981 . 

Laya  Selvam  by  Muthamizh  Peravai  in  1983. 

KALYANI  GANESAN  -  VEENA  VIDVAMSINI  :  (b.  Novr.  16, 1949) 

A  graduate  in  music  of  the  Madras  University,  Kalyani  Ganesan  had  her 
further  training  at  the  Government  Music  College,  Madras  and  got  the  Sangita 
Vidwan  diploma  in  1967  and  did  her  advanced  training  also  there.  Balambal 
and  M.A.  Kalyanakrishna  Bhagavathar  were  her  tutors  in  veena.  She  is  giving 
concerts  on  the  All  India  Radio,  etc.,  and  is  a  lecturer  in  veena  at  the  Government 
Music  Training  Centre,  Madras. 

Concert  tours  :  Canada. 

*     *     * 

KALYANI  SHARMA  -  VOCALIST  -  VEENA  ARTISTE:  (b.  April  25,  1936) 

Place  of  birth  :      Trivandrum 

Parents  :       K.V.  Iyer  and  V.  Janaki 

Qualifications  :       Gana  Bhooshana  in  Veena  from  the  Swati  Tirunal  Music 

College,  Trivandrum. 

Vidwan  (Advanced  Course)  in  Vocal  Music  from  same 

Kalyani  Sharma  had  the  benefit  of  training  when  Dr,  Semmangudi  Srinivasa 
Ayyar  and  K.S.  Narayanaswami  were  at  the  College.  She  had  training  under 
Brinda  and  Mukta  in  padams  and  javalis. 

Posts  held  :       Junior  Professor,  Swati  Technical  Music  College, 


Promoted  as  Professor  but  resigned. 
Teacher  in  Music,  Bharatiya  Music  School, 

Bombay—  1964-1970 


Teacher  &  now  Head  of  Veena  Section, 
Shanmukhananda  Sabha  Music  School,  Bombay 

from  1971. 


Kalyani  Sharma  has  been  giving  concerts  since  1S57  in  sabhas  and  fo 
India  Radio.  Has  a  good  repertoire  and  imaginative  rendition.  Has  won  pri; 
Enjoys  a  sweet  voice. 

Concert  tours  :        U.S.A.  and  Singapore. 


A  prominent  composer  of  Karnataka  in  Sanskrit  and  telugu,  Kamakoti  S< 
had  brought  out  many  songs  that  are  now  in  constant  usage  like  - 

Nirupamana  in  Madyamavati 

Hamapati  in  Bhairaviand 

Devadhi  Deva  in  Todi 


*  Kamala  Viswanathan  studied  music  with  P.  Balakrishnan,  Musiri  Subram< 
Ayyar,  and  M.A.  Kalyanakrishna  Bhagavathar  at  the  Government  Music  Coll 
and  got  Vidwan'  title  in  veena  and  vocal.  A  performing  artiste  on  the  All  Ir 
Radio  and  elsewhere.  Had  won  prizes  in  the  sixties. 


Place  of  birth  :       Kalpati 

Parents  :       Venkataramana  Ayyar,  Dharmadhikari  of  Sringeri  Ms 

and  Anandalakshmi  Ammal. 

Kanchana  is  a  village  gifted  to  Venkataramana  Ayyar  by  the  Srin 
Acharya.  The  Vainika  mother  taught  him  music  and  Venkatasubraman; 
learnt  further  under  Chitrakodi  Narayana  Sastri,  Chembai  Vaidyam 
Bhagavatar  and  G.N.  Balasubramaniam.  Made  his  debut  at  the  fam 
Mookambika  temple  and  has  been  giving  numerous  concerts  with  emir 
accompanists.  He  established  the  Lakshmi  Narayana  Sangita  Sabhs 
gurukula  institution  which  trains  numerous  disciples.  He  enjoys  a  plea 
voice,  good  style  of  rendition  and  innovative  capabilities.  His  son  Subburati 
is  a  violin  vidwan. 


K.V.  KANTHAMANI  -  VEENA  VIDVAMSINI  :  (b.  January  14, 1923) 

Born  at  :      Siruvathur  In  South  Arcot  district, 

of  :      Flute  vidwan  Venkataramayyar  &  Saradamba. 

Had  her  training  :      in  vocal  with  her  father  and 

in  veena  with  Pondicherry  H.  Ramakrishna  Bhagavatar 
and  Veena  Varadayya  of  Cuddalore. 

She  had  gurukulavasa  training  for  five  years  with  Karaikudi  Sambasiva 
Ayyar.  Made  her  debut  at  Tirupadiripuliyur  and  has  given  a  large  number  of 
concerts  in  Tamil  Nadu  and  Andhra  Pradesh  and  on  the  All  India  Radio.  At  Jaffna 
she  got  the  title  of  'Yazhisai  Vallar'  and  has  been  a  teacher  in  veena  in  different 


(b.October  25, 1925) 

Karaikudiyar,  meaning  one  who  hails  from  Karaikudi,  actually  should  have 
been  'Pallathurar'  since  Chandramouli  was  born  at  nearby  Pallathur,  of 
Rarnachandra  Ayyar  and  Balambal  and  is  related  to  the  Karaikudi  Veena 
Brothers.  Had  his  training  under  Karaikudi  Natesa  Ayyar  and  Karaikudi 
Kalaimamani  Muthu  Ayyar.  Chandramouli  claims  that  the  gurukulavasa  helped 
him  immensely  to  flower  into  a  prominent  percussionist.  Made  his  debut  at  the 
age  of  sixteen  providing  accompaniment  to  harikatha  exponent  Rarnachandra 
Bhagavatar  along  with  his  guru  at  Kottaiyur.  Has  been  working  as  Professor 
and  Head  of  the  Department  of  Mridangam,  Shanmukhananda  Sangeetha 
Sabha,  Bombay  for  the  last  seventeen  years. 

Concert  tours  :       Malaysia,  Singapore,  Indonesia*  Thailand,  Australia. 

K.R.  Chandramouli  suggests  that  some  senior  mridangam  artistes  could 
jointly  frame  and  publish  a  uniform  regular  basic  syllabus  for  students 
undergoing  training  in  the  various  paddhati(s). 

Path  to  Erudition 

Joe  Louis',  the  magnificent  boxer  said: 

*  Everyone  wants  to  go  to  Heaven; 
But  few  wants  to  die!  ' 

Even  so,  some  capable,  promising  juniors  do  not  seem  to  stay  on  to  complete 
their  apprenticeship  as  they  could  not  withstand  the  lure  of  publicity,  income  and 
media  praise.  Lacking  expertise  and  depth,  these  flowers  fade  out  before  attaining 
full  bloom. 



A.  Sivasubramaniani  alias  Chinnafhambi  Plllai:  (Jan.  1897  -  Mar.  9, 1942) 

B.  Kannappa  Piliai  (June  27, 1891  -  July  13, 1944) 

A  B 

Native  Place        :  Keeranur,  Nannilam  taluk,  Sirupuliyur.  Belonged  to 

Tanjore  district  Pandanallur,  a  nursery  of 


Parentage  :  Pallavi  Govinda  Nainakarar  &         Kandaswaml  Piliai  and 

Sundarammal.  (Father  was  Marimuthu  Ammal 

Asthana  Vidwan,  Chunambedu 

Musical  training  Father  Govinda  Nainakarar,  Keeranur  Muthu 

under      :  Kanchi  Nama  Piliai,  Nainakarar  and 

Keeranur  Muthu  Nainakarar.  Mannargudi  Chinna 


Both  had  thus  common  training  under  Keeranur  Muthu  Nainakarar  but  were 
giving  recitals  separately.  Later  they  combined  and  under  the  name  'Keeranur 
Brothers'  made  their  debut  at  the  marriage  of  Tiruvidaimarudur  P.S.  Veeruswami 
Piliai,  who  too  rose  to  the  top  soon  after. 

The  brothers  were  a  popular  duo  and  were  in  good  demand,  Had  played  at 
the  memorable  All  India  Music  Conference,  1927  held  along  with  the  All  India 
Congress  Committee  session  at  Madras.  Both  were  individually  capable 
vidwans.  Chinnathambi  had  given  vocal  concerts  also  and  provided  tavil 
accompaniment  to  others.  T.N.  Rajarathinam  brought  out  a  special 
commemoration  volume  to  condole  Chinnathambi's  death.  Vedaranyam 
Vedamurthi  and  several  others  were  Chinnathambi's  disciples. 

The  eminent  nagaswaram  duo  had  constant  periods  of  estrangement;  Sruti 
layam  and  Sruti bhedam  had  co-existed  by  turns!  Artistes  who  fare  well  as  duo 
fare  ill  individually  when  they  fall  asunder  similar  to  doubles  players  in  sport 

Title  : 

'  Sabha  Ranjitha  Bhooshanam  '  in  1937. 
Disc  recordings. 


I.  KESI  -  FLAUTIST:  (b.  April  20, 1921) 

Hails  from  :       Palamaneri,  Tanjore  dt 

N.  Kesi  learnt  vocal  music  under  Jalra  Gopala  Ayyar,  when  Flute  Mahalingam 

Mali)  was  learning  flute  under  the  same  guru.    She  felt  attracted  to  the  flute 

endition  of  Mali.    However,  she  had  to  shift  her  musical  training  from  Jalra 

aopala  Ayyar  at  Nagapattinam  to  Palamaneri  Swaminatha  Ayyar  at  Tanjore. 

Jwaminatha  Ayyar  was  a  Sangita  Kalanidhi  and  a  prominent  vidwan.    Finally 

»he  became  a  disciple  of  Mali  himself  in  1943  at  Madras,  circumstances 

avouring  it  with  the  transfer  of  her  husband  to  the  City.    Earlier  too,  she  had 

seen  giving  flute  concerts  and  with  the  intensive  training  under  and  imbibing  the 

style  of  Mali,  she  began  giving  concerts  in  sabhas  and  elsewhere  in  large 

lumbers.  Mali  had  so  much  confidence  in  her  that  at  the  Tambaram  Sangeetha 

3abha  in  1957  he  announced  that  he  was  not  giving  the  concert  and  that  Kesi 

/vould  play  instead  with  the  accompanists  M.S.  Gopalakrishnan  and  Ramnad 

Eswaran  on  violin  and  mridangam  respectively!  She  had  played  with  her  guru 

Mali  in  about  twenty  concerts  and  they  were  a  challenging  task  well  executed 

by  her. 

A  torch-bearer  of  Mali  style,  she  is  one  of  the  popular  flautists  who  brings 
out  the  fragrant  shades  of  melody  with  control  over  laya.  She  is  training  a  large 
number  of  disciples.  Was  Visiting  Professor  for  two  months  in  the  Government 
College  of  Carnatic  Music  and  is  on  the  Audition  Committee  of  the  All  India  Radio, 

Disc  recordings. 
Concert  tours  : 

Sri  Lanka  in  1960,  Europe  in  1964. 

Kesi  is  one  of  the  select  prominent,  lady  flautists  and  perhaps  the  only  one 
who  has  been  giving  concerts  for  five  decades.  One  of  her  disciples  G.Sridhar 
gave  a  twenty-four  hours  recital  at  the  Madhava  Perumal  Koil,  Madras,  on 
September?,  1991. 

VELUR  KESAVADASA  -  COMPOSER  (  Died  1948  ) 

Son  of  Venkatasubba  Dasa,  Kesavadasa  was  a  famous  composer  in 
kannada.  Karnataka  Bhakta  Vijaya,  Sri  Haridasa  Sahitya  and  Sri 
Raghuvamsa  Vijaya  are  all  his  creations. 



Musical  heritage  :       Father  Ramaswamayya  was  a  vocalist: 

Grandfather  Nagappa  was  a  a  kanjira  player. 

Another  grandfather  Venkataramayya  was  a  composer. 
Musical  training  under :         Chicka  Rama  Rao  and  Bidaram  Krishnappa. 

Keshavamurthy  attained  mastery  in  violin  play  while  still  young  and  was  a 
constant  accompanist  to  reputed  musicians.  In  1930  he  was  with  the  melody  - 
king  B.S.  Raja  Ayyangar  and  went  round  with  him  for  concerts.  A  popular  soloist, 
he  has  given  a  large  number  of  concerts  on  the  radio,  television  and  sabhas  in 
addition  to  many  lecture  -  demonstrations  which  are  a  delight  to  rnusic-lovers, 
He  has  been  training  many  disciples. 

M.  Surya  Prasad  records  in  the  'Hindu  '  that  the  76-year  old  maestro  even 
today  has  a  rare  and  youthful  vigour  and  verve  in  playing  on  a  seven-stringed 
violin  and  after  T.  Chowdiah  and  Ratnagiri  Subba  Sastry,  it  is  he  who  has  held 
the  baton  intact.  His  exposition  is  rich  in  the  composite  eloquence  of  bhava, 
raga  and  tala. 

Honours  &  Titles:  Karnataka  Sangeetha  Nritya  Academy  Award     1 980. 

T.  Chowdiah  Memorial  (State  Level)  Award         1 982. 
Sangita  Vidyasagara,  etc. 

Sangeetha  Kalaratna  from  the  Bangalore  Gayana 
Samaja  1991. 

Rudrapatnam  in  Hasan  district  is  a  cradle  of  musicians  and  Keshavamurthy 
is  one  of  its  distinguished  sons.  He  has  published  as  many  as  eighteen  books 
in  kannada  on  sangita. 

Disc  recordings  number  six. 

Tlruppalll  Ezhucchi: 

One  can  be  shaken  out  of  slumber  if  really  asleep  but  not  when  he  feigns  to  be  so. 
Perhaps  the  Lord  of  the  Universe  has  the  merit  of  falling  under  the  latter  category. 
Otherwise  why  should  so  many  saints  sing  Tiruppalli  Ezhucchi'  to  wake  Him  up? 

Sage  Viswamitra 
Vishnu  Siddhar 
Thondaradipodi  Azhwar  and 
Manickavachakar  have  done  the  exercise. 

Andal  approached  the  devotees  in  a  bid  to  wake  them  up  in  her  Tiruppavai*. 



(b.  1900) 

Age  does  not  wither  the  infinite  charm  gi  his  musical  discourses  nor  slacken 
the  tempo  of  his  crusades  for  spreading  spiritual  and  moral  precepts  and 
message  around  the  tamil-knowing  world.  He  has  the  unique  distinction  of 
drawing  the  largest  crowds  consistently  for  nearly  seven  decades.  One  could 
witness  him  bubbling  with  wit  and  humour  like  a  child,  jostling  around  cities  and 
villages  in  different  parts  of  the  world  like  a  youth  and  pouring  out  ancient  wisdom 
drawn  from  the  sacred  lore  of  India  filtered  in  the  context  of  modern  political, 
social  and  cultural  happenings  like  an  aged  seer.  He  exhibits  his  firm  faith  and 
eternal  hope  in  the  future  of  Bharath  like  the  saints  of  old.  His  cutting,  yet 
delicious  puns  in  spiritual  capsules  bringing  to  ridicule  self-righteous  and  pseudo 
political  and  social  leaders  are  winsome.  His  memory  is  astonishingly  fresh. 
His  command  of  tamil  is  total  and  of  Sanskrit  much.  His  knowledge  of  the  theory 
of  music  is  rich.  Though  he  lost  the  feminine  grace  of  his  voice  long  back,  still 
at  the  age  of  eighty-six,  he  gives  the  outline  and  lead  to  his  accompanists  to 
elaborate.  He  is  a  master  of  discoursers  commanding  absolute  respect  from  all 
sections  of  the  public  and  popularity  from  every  segment  .of  the  community.  His 
contribution  in  the  field  of  discourses  is  colossal.  Above  all,  he  had  placed  his 
art  and  his  power  at  the  service  of  the  Lord  and  his  favourite  saints 
Arunagirinathar  and  Vadalur  Ramalinga  Swamigal.  The  number  of  renovation 
of  temples  and  other  good  causes  espoused  by  him  is  impressive.  Physically 
he  is  tall  and  massive  with  a  liberal  annointment  of  sacred  ash  (vibhuti).  The 
massive  exterior  encases  a  good,  affable,  gracious  and  benevolent  soul. 

He  is  Tirumuruga  Kirupananda  Variar,  son  of  Mallaya  Das  Bhagavatar,  a 
musical  discourser  and  Kanakavalli  Ammal.  He  had  a  very  rigorous,  full-time 
training  in  tamil,  tamil  hymns  and  music  under  his  father  and  was  not  allowed  to 
play.  (Without  doubt,  he  would  have  equally  become  a  very  good  athlete  but  for 
this  ban  while  young.)  At  the  age  of  twelve,  he  could  command  ten  thousand 
hymns  and  songs.  He  followed  his  father  giving  voice-support.  Learnt 
Tiruppugazh  from  Madurai  Sami  Ayyar  and  got  'diksha'  as  was  the  practice  in 
Veera  Saiva  families  from  Siddhanta  Sarabham  Palani  Esana  Sivachariar 
Swamigal,  He  studied  veena  under  a  local  teacher  for  a  while  and  later  under 
Tenmatam  Srinivasachariar  to  whom  Variar  has  the  greatest  respect.  He  would 
pay  obeisance  to  him  twice  -  at  the  beginning  and  at  the  end  of  his  daily  tuitions. 

1  Kirupananda,  why  do  you  perform  namaskars  twice?1 

'  Swamigale,  people  take  coffee  dozens  of  times.  Can  I  not  pay  obeisance  at  least  twice 
to  my  respected  Guru  ?  ',  was  the  innocent  reply. 

This  is,  in  essence,  his  approach  still.  The  teacher  loved  him  and  he  revered 
the  guru.  As  he  was  to  take  leave  after  his  training,  he  had  little  money  to  give 
as  guru-dakshina  and  his  father  sent  him  just  two  dhotis  to  be  presented.  The 


lad  was  sad.  Availability  of  resources  did  not  match  his  inclinations.  Just  then, 
he  got  a  good  offer  to  perform  some  musical  discourses  and  with  Rs.  forty  got 
from  them,  he  purchased  a  three-sovereign  chain  and  a  dollar  and  with  the  usual 
auspicious  betel,  etc.,  he  was  able  to  substantially  satisfy  his  ambition  to  make 
a  good  present  to  his  veena  guru.  When  the  guru  died,  he  helped  his  family  too. 
Once  his  father  took  him  to  Veena  Seshanna  and  got  a  veena  from  him. 

It  is  noteworthy  to  mention  that  he  has  not  started  any  sect  while  that  is  very 
easy  for  him  with  his  immense  knowledge,  wide  popularity  and  vast  following. 
He  reflects  the  immense  wisdom  of  Hindu  religion,  seers  and  scriptures  and  as 
a  musician,  he  is  a  traditionalist.  The  following  anecdote  indicates  the  firm  faith 
reposed  particularly  by  women  in  his  discourses: 

Municipal  Vice-Chairman  Shanmugham  Pillai  jocularly  found  fault  with  him 
once  for  giving  wrong  advice  to  women.  How  ? 

1  You  have  spoilt  the  outlook  and  conduct  of  my  wife  !  She  heard  your  discourse 
yesterday  evening.  This  morning  at  5  am.,  she  poured  chill  water  on  my  legs  while  I 
was  asleep  and  when  questioned  on  her  madness,  she  avers  that  you  had  advised 
women  to  follow  Anasuya's  devotion  to  her  spouse-saint!  I  do  not  know  how  many 
other  women  had  woken  up  so  early  and  poured  cold  water  on  the  legs  of  their  sleeping 
husbands  and  decorated  them  with  flowers  ! ' 

Concert  tours: 

Many  countries  in  different  continents. 
Titles  &  Honours  : 

These  have  little  meaning  to  a  soul  like  Variar.  Some  are  given  here  : 

Tlruppugazh  Jyoti  \ 

Pravachana  Samrat        /  BV  Swami  Sivananda  Saraswati, 


Arulmozhi  Arasu 

Saraswati  Katakshamrutham 

Isai  Perarignar 
Tiruppani  Chakravarti  & 
Tiruppani  Sarabham 
Sorpozhivu  Vallal 

By  Head  of  Sri  Tirugnana  Sambandar  Mutt, 


By  Sri  Paramacharyal,  Senior  Sankaracharya, 


By  the  Jeer,  Ahobhila  Mutt, 

By  Tamil  Isai  Mandram,  Madras. 

By  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram. 

By  Adheenakartar,  Dharmapuram  Mutt. 

By  Bhavani  Tirumurai  Kazhagam. 

By  Velur  Shanmugha  Adiyar  Sangham. 


Variar  has  not  escaped  from  the  pressures  of  well-meaning  admirers  to 
appear  in  cinemas.  Thunaivan5,  Tiruvarul'  and  'Deivam'  have  the  distinction  of 
his  appearance. 

He  is  economic  in  his  personal  life  and  spends  his  large  earnings  for  the 
good  of  his  kith  and  kin  and  the  numerous  public  causes  he  espouses.  Eminent 
Editor,  Kalki  Krishnamurti  wrote  full  four  decades  back  : 

1  How  an  individual  like  Variar  could  accomplish  individually  the  entire  construction  of 
Satya  Gnana  Sabha  at  Vadalur  passes  comprehension.  When  one  sees  the  multi -sided 
activities  of  Variar,  he  has  perforce  to  conclude  that  - 

"Variar  is  not  an  individual  at  all ; 
He  is  a  mighty  Institution  himself." ' 

Variar  is  going  strong  rich  with  the  spoils  of  time,  unrolling  the  ample  pages 
of  his  deep  erudition  and  refined  knowledge,  scattering  plenty  amidst 
tamil-speaking  crowds.  In  his  own  words,  'whether  the  sun  rises  or  not,  there 
is  invariably  a  daily  lecture  of  his'.  What  is  the  secret  of  his  ready  wit,  ample 
knowledge  and  envious  memory  ?  '  Brahmacharya  '  (celibacy),  is  his  answer! 
Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  too  observed  celibacy  to  uphold  his  service  to  music,- 
(celibacy  is  used  in  the  sense  of  refraining  from  sexual  indulgence.) 

Richard,  the  Coeurde  Lion  was  at  home,  it  is  said,  on  his  horseback.  Variar, 
undoubtedly  a  giant  among  musical  discoursers,  is  at  home  only  in  the  midst  of 
vast  crowds  sharing  his  profound  preponderant  spiritual  wisdom  with  them.  For 
over  sixty-seven  years,  he  has  been  on  his  peripatetic  rounds  and  is  indeed  a 
KSHETRAGNA.  The  number  of  his  lectures  should  find  an  entry  in  the  Guinness 
Book  of  Records. 


To  Kohala  several  works  are  ascribed  such  as  - 

Kohalamata  Kohaliya  Kohala  Rahasya 

Tala  Lakshana         •  Abhinaya  Sastra  Sangita  Meru 

Dattila  Kohaliyam 

Kohala  is  one  of  the  ancient  authorities  but  his  period  could  not  be  fixed  with 
certainty.  Prof.  R.  Satyanarayana  says: 

'Bharata  promises  that  the  rest  of  the  science  of  dramaturgy  would  be 
revealed  by  Kohala.  Kalinatha  extracts  from  Sangita  Meru  ascribed  to  Kohala, 
Matanga  and  others  too  extract  from  his  works.'  Such  bristling  factors  confound 
efforts  to  fix  the  period  of  the  eminent  author,  it  is  said. 


UMAYALPURAM  N.  KOTH ANDARAMA  AYYAR  *         (Oct  27, 1 889-c.  1 975) 


Son  of  Ghatam  Narayana  Ayyar,  Kothandarama  Ayyar  learnt  ghatam  and 
mridangam  under  his  father  and  had  his  training  in  music  under  Veena 
Vaidyanatha  Ayyar.  One  of  the  prominent  percussionists  of  his  day,  he  was 
noted  for  his  excellent  fingering,  rhythm  and  tonal  development  on  the  mud  pot 
(ghatam).  He  developed  a  new  and  basic  'sollut  called  'tharikattu'  with  new 
fingering  and  a  variety  of  effects  on  the  pot  with  remarkable  tempo  and  clarity 
of  sound.  In  the  course  of  his  play,  he  used  to  throw  the  pot  up  to  provide  a 
different  sound  to  the  delight  of  the  audience.  He  had  accompanied  most  of  the 
top  artistes  and  was  one  of  the  few  who  improved  the  image  of  ghatam  artistes. 
Umayalpuram  K.  Narayanaswamy  is  carrying  on  the  percussive  legacy  of  the 
family.  (Page  112  of  'A  Garland  'modified.) 

Concert  Tours  :  Singapore,  U.K.  and  Germany 

MEESU  KRISHNA  AYYAR  -  COMPOSER:  (1872  -1940) 

Krishna  Ayyar  hailed  from  Ramanathapuram  and  is  the  composer  of  kritis 


-  Sri  Rukmani  Manirangu  raga  and 

Karunavasa  Abhogi  raga 

Alathur  Venkatesa  Ayyar  has  notated  his  songs. 

MYLATTUR  KRISHNA  AYYAR  -  MRIDANGIST:  (c.  1868  -  1922) 

Krishna  Ayyar  had  his  initial  training  under  Aiappuzha  Annadorai  Bhagav^tar 
and  then  left  Mylattur  for  Tanjore  at  the  age  of  twenty  or  twenty-two,  as  Tanjore 
had  then  a  galaxy  of  percussionists.  He  joined  the  celebrated  Tanjore  Krishna 
Bhagavatar's  team  of  accompanists  which  included  the  vocal  -  support 
musicians  Tanjore  Panchapakesa  Bhagavatar  and  Marudappa  pillai.  Later  he 
entered  the  concert  stage  accompanying  all  top  musicians.  His  play  was  noted 
for  'Nadha  suddham,  Kalapramana  suddham,  adjustability  and  anticipation'.  His 
exhilarative  play  for  pallavis,  which  were  then  most  prominent,  was  very  good. 


Krishna  Ayya  is  said  to  belong  to  the  celebrated  Adippayya  family  of 
musicians  and  composers.  An  expert  in  tala,  Ayya  excelled  in  his  permutations 


and  combinations  providing  blistering  variations  and  ultimate  synchronisation. 
He  was  known  for  his  Saptataleswaram.  Mummadi  Krishna  Raja  Wodeyar  made 
him  his  Asthana  vidwan. 


Had  his  initial  training  with  his  father  and  mridangam  vidwan,  Venkataramiah. 
Musical  legacy  spurred  him  on  to  take  advanced  training  under  the  renowned 
T.  Chowdiah  along  with  Alagiriswamy,  who  is  now  a  prominent  performing 
violinist.  Joined  the  Corporation  High  School,  Bangalore  in  1949.  Was 
Professor  in  a  Music  College.  H.V.  Krishnamurti  along  with  Veerabhadriah  and 
Anoor  Ramakrishna  has  been  giving  trio-violin  concerts  and  had  distinguished 
mridangists  like  Palghat  Mani  Ayyar  and  Umayalpuram  Sivaraman  as 
accompanists.  He  is  both  a  good  soloist  and  an  accompanist. 


Born  at  Koilamma  near  Palghat,  K.N.  Krishnamurty  had  his  musical  training 
under  his  father  Narayana  Ayyar  first  and  then  under  Palghat  Kunjumani  and 
Palghat  Mani  Ayyar.  Is  a  prominent  mridangam  and  ghatam  vidwan.  Was 
employed  in  Firestone  Tyres. 

Concert  Tours  :         Singapore,  Malaysia  and  Europe. 

K.S.  KRISHNAMOORTI  -  COMPOSER.  (b.  May  19, 1914). 

Krishnamoorti  was  born  at  Kumbakonam  and  is  a  prolific  writer  and  his  works 

Andaman  Kaithi  -  drama  1 944 

Isai  Inbam  -  songs  1 945 

Kalaivanan  -  drama  1 946 

Amudha  Tamilisai  -  songs  1 980 

'Andaman  Kaithi1  won  the  prize  of  the  Tamil  Nadu  Government.  Has  received 
the  Sangita  Natak  Academy  Award  for  his  drama  works.  His  songs  had  been 
handled  by  eminent  musicians.  His  songs  were  set  to  tune  by  Guruvayur 
Kalaimamani  Ponnammal.  Melakaveri  A.R.  Kannan  had  assisted  them  in 
swara-tala  adornments  to  the  songs.  Krishnamoorti  had  been  honoured  with  the 
title  of  'Kalaimamani1  by  the  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram.  The  songs 
are  devotional  with  the  beauty  of  yati  prasa' 


C.  KRISHNAMURTY  -  VAINIKA :  (  b.  1934  -  July  16, 1992  ) 

C.  Krishnamurty  hails  from  a  well-known  family  of  veena ,  artistes. 
Cheluvarayaswamy,  his  father  and  guru  was  a  veena  artiste,  musicologist  and 
a  disciple  of  V.  Venkatagiriappa.  Krishnamurty  too  had  his  gurukulayasam  under 
Venkatagiriappa  till  he  became  the  seniormost  disciple  of  Dr.  Doreswamy 
lyengar.  He  has  been  giving  concerts  on  the  All  India  Radio,  Television  and 
elsewhere  both  on  national  programmes  and  regional  items.  He  has  been 
training  a  number  of  disciples  both  Indian  and  foreign.  He  is  on  the  staff  of  All 
India  Radio  for  the  last  eighteen  years, 

Concert  Tours  :  Festival  of  India,  USSR,  1987 

Festival  of  India,  Germany  in  Pancha  Veena'  concert 

Titles  : 

Apart  from  recognition  with  the  Shanmugavadivu  Award  in  1980  from  the 
Music  Academy,  Madras  and  an  honour  from  the  Sankaracharya  of  Sringeri,  he 
received  the  State-Level  Chowdiah  Memorial  Award,  1992  from  the  Academy 
of  Music,  Bangalore. 

KRISHNAGANAM  MAESTRO  :  (1921  -  Octr.  1,  1982) 

Uthukadu  is  one  of  God's  creations  where  melody  ruled  in  all  its  radiant 
beauty.  Uthukadu  Venkatasubba  Ayyar  (1700-1765)  is  one  of  the  immortals 
among  musical  composers  in  tamil  and  Sanskrit  whose  songs  on  Lord  Krishna 
stand  unmatched  for  beauty,  fragrance  of  conception  and  felicity  of  expression. 
Pieces  like  Taye  Yasoda  (Todi),  Palvadiyum  (Natakurinji)  and  Alai  Payude 
(Kanada)  continue  to  thrill  thousands.  Divine  ecstasy  popular  appeal,  deep 
emotions  and  easy-paced  tamil  diction  coupled  with  apt  raga  swaroopas 
created  by  him  enthral  the  elite  and  the  lay  alike.  Krishnamoorty  Bhagavatar 
was  a  descendant  in  the  sixth  generation  of  the  brother  of  Venkatasubba  Ayyar, 
who  was  a  celibate. 

Bhagavatar  kept  alive  the  Uthukadu  tradition  of  divine  melody  and  'Krishna 
consciousness1  for  several  decades.  Blessed  with  a  melodic,  mellifluous  voice, 
conjuring  presentation,  elegant  yet  simple  exposition  and  direct  and  innocent 
appeal  to  the  finer  and  nobler  sentiments  of  the  audience  distinguished  his 
musical  discourses.  The  Sage  of  Kanchi,  the  Paramacharyal  advised  him, 
initially  a  vocalist,  to  take  to  discourses  and  Bhagavatar  became  the  prime 
mouthpiece  of  Uthukadu  compositions.  He  resurrected  them  all  and  brought 
them  to  current  use.  His  inspiring  discourses  were  soulful  but  Fortune  did  not 
smile  on  him.  He  did  not  opt  for  the  usual  audience  -  response  expediencies. 


He  was  stoic,  conservative  and  would  not  take  even  a  violin.  He  carried  on  solo 
with  conviction  but  it  cost  him  dearly  and  the  art  too  had  lost  much.  Had  he  taken 
some  accompanists,  he  would  have  surely  dwarfed  others  but  he  was  destined 
to  be  a  victim  of  his  own  decision.  The  world  too  did  not  help  him  much. 

Son  of  Gopala  Ayyar  and  Janaki  Ammal,  he  was  born  at  Sembavali  in 
Papanasam  taluk,  Thanjavur  district/He  stayed  at  Needamangalam  and  came 
to  be  called  'Needamangalam  Bhagavatar'.  If  celestial  Krishna  was  the  eighth 
child  to  his  parents,  this  Needamangalam  Krishna  too  was  the  eight  child  to  his 
parents.  Probably  this  too  had  its  subtle  impact  on  him  apart  from  the  legacy  of 
the  family  and  his  musical  leanings  and  longings  in  promoting  him  as  the 
effective  instrument  to  popularise  the  Krishna  Gana  songs  of  his  illustrious 
ancestor.  It  is  significant  that  he  was  named  after  the  Lord  of  the  Bhagawad 

He  made  his  late  debut  at  Nungambakkam  in  Madras  in  his  thirtieth  year  yvith 
Krishna  Ganam  songs.  Authentic  presentation  with  enchanting  melodic  content 
featured  his  musical  discourses  and  he  came  to  be  described  as  a  re-birth  of 
the  illustrious  Uthukadu  Composer.  The  Straits  Times,  Singapore  (February  2, 
1 982)  wrote: 

"  What  a  shame  that  men  with  half  his  age 
cannot  sing  with  such  sustenance,  half  as  well! " 

Writes  'Kinnari'  in  'Shanmuka'  (July  1991)  : 

'  Krishnamoorty  Bhagavatar's  performing  finesse  is  to  be  experienced  to  be  believed. 
He  was  an  artiste,  an  aesthete  and  a  performer  with  perception  and  punch...  His  voice 
has  the  twinkling  radiance  and  vigour,  its  resilience  and  refinement  inferior  to  no  concert 
veteran.  His  percussive  ingenuity  would  match  any  of  the  star-performers,' 

Bhagavatar  has  notated  most  of  the  songs  of  Venkatasubba  Ayyar  and 
forty-two  songs  have  been  published  with  notation  and  seventy-nine  without 
under  the  titles:  . 

Krishna  Ganam, 
Navavarana  kirtanas  and 
Rasa  Ganam. 

Financial  constraint  deters  the  publication  of  the  remaining  treasure  left  to 
posterity  by  Venkatasubba  Ayyar.  Presently  Bhagavatar's  daughter,  V.  Alamelu 
and  his  sons-in-law,  Pandurangan  and  Sethuraman  are  propagating  the 
Uthukadu  compositions.  Anyone  interested  in  the  publication  of  the  remaining 
songs  of  Uthukadu  can  approach  Bhagavatar's  wife  K.  Rajammal.  The  songs 
provide  tantalizing  themes  full  of  bhava  and  divine  melody  for  Bharata  Natya.  It 
will  indeed  be  a  tribute  to  the  stupendous  vidwat  of  Bhagavatar  too.  Bhagavatar 
has  given  one  L.P.  and  had  visited  Singapore. 


The  Pararnacharyal  of  Kanchi  had  honoured  Bhagavatar  with  the  title  of 
Krishna  Bhaktamani'.  Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar  Trust  honoured  him 
posthumously.  Madurai  T.N.  Seshagopalan  gave  a  public  concert  at  the  Tamil 
IsaJ  Sangham,  Madras  with  Uthukadu  songs  alone  drawing  inspiration  and 
guidance  from  V.  Alamelu. 


Born  at  Kollegal,  of  Ramamurthy  who  was  in  the  State  service  and  was  a 
musician  too,  T.R.  Krishnamurty  had  his  training  in  music  under  Bhairavi  Kempe 
Gowda,  Violin  Narayanaswamappa  and  T.  Chowdiah.  Has  a  pleasing  .and 
responding  voice  and  is  a  traditionalist.  He  has  been  giving  concerts  in  sabhas 
and  on  the  All  India  Radio.  Has  been  training  many  disciples  like  H.R.  Sitarama 


(20th  Cent.) 

Son  of  Srinivasa  Ayyangar,  Krishna  Ayyangar  had  his  training  under  Krishna 
Rao,  Chikka  Rama  Rao,  Mysore  Vasudevacharya  and  Bidaram  Krishnappa  - 
distinguished  vocalists.  For  five  decades  Krishna  Ayyangar  has  been  giving 
vocal  concerts  and  harikatha  discourses.  He  established  Sri  Krishna  Gayana 
Sabha.  A  popular  vidwan  known  for  his  traditional  presentation. 

Publications  :       Dikshita  kritis  -  Navavarana  and  Navagraha  kritis. 

Tyagaraja  Hrudaya. 

Titles  :       Harikatha  Visarada 

Kirtana  Bhushana,  etc. 

LALGUDI  GJ.R.  KRISHNAN  -  VIOLINIST:  (b.April  15, 1960) 

The  Lalgudi  Family  is  one  of  the  few  in  Carnatic  music  which  takes  genuine 
pride  as  inheritors  of  a  precious  legacy  and  continuous  dedication  for 
generations  to  the  classical  art.  The  paterfamilias  Rama  Ayyar  was  a  devoted 
disciple  of  Tyagarajah.  Krishnan  and  Vijayalakshmi,  son  and  daughter  of 
Lalgudi  Jayaraman,  Violin  maestro,  are  duo  violinists  who  combine  delightfully 
rendering  melody  more  melodious,  The  magnitude  of  their  intensive  training, 
dedication  and  exquisite  musical  expression  come  to  instant  notice  when  they 
commence  their  concerts.  The  'Lalgudi  perfume'  quite  carefully  filtered  and 
invigorated  by  their  stalwart  father,  and  passed  on  to  Krishnan,  spreads  its 
fragrance  and  the  duo  play  to  aesthetic  perfection.  Krishnan  practically  had  all 
the  gifts  of  gurukulavasa  at  home  from  birth  and  the  father  -  aunt  violin  concerts 


had  come  to  stay  since  1958  even  before  he  was  conceived. 

Krishnan  got  an  early  start  in  his  training  at  the  tender  age  of  five  with  his 
grandfather  Lalgudi  Gopala  Ayyar  and  continued  it  with  his  father.  Made  his 
debut  in  1973  providing  violin  support  to  his  father.  He  is  giving  solo  recitals, 
jugalbandhis  and  violin  duets  with  his  father  or  his  sister.  His  style  like  his 
father's  js  the  gayaka  style  closest  to  vocal  rendition.  His  raga  delineations  are 
crisp  and  absorbing.  Kriti  rendition  exhibits  musical  vigour  and  grace. 
Impeccable  bowing  and  careful  planning  feature  his  concerts.  Has  been  giving 
quite  a  large  number  of  concerts  in  India  and  abroad. 

Concert  tours: 

With  father  Jayaraman:  Singapore,  Malaysia,  Hong  Kong,  Italy,  West  Germany, 
U.K.,  U.S.A.,  USSR  and  Middle  East.  (Sister  Vijayalakshmi  joined  in  some.) 

With  sister  Vijayalakshmi  alone;  USA, 
Honours  and  titles: 

Best  violinist  Award  by  Music  Academy,  Madras  1 986. 

Yuva  Kala  Bharati  by  Bharat  Kalachar  1 987. 

A  Post-graduate  in  Commerce  and  a  Cost  &  Works  Accountant,  Krishnan  is 
an  Executive  Officer  in  an  Investments  Company  and  is  a  co-promoter  of  the 
vibrant  organisation  TYME'  (Talented  Youth  for  Musical  Excellence).  The  author 
has  a  particular  reason  to  thank  Krishnan.  He  was  delightfully  surprised  to 
receive  a  letter  from  Dr.  Uma  Roy,  President,  The  Carnatic  Music  Association  of 
North  America  Inc.  mentioning  inter  alia: 

1 1  was  presented  with  your  book  A  Garland  by  Lalgudi  G.J.R.  Krish- 
nan and  Lalgudi  Vijayalakshmi...  congratulate  you  on  compiling  an 
immense  amount  of  material  which  is  bound  to  be  useful...  seek  your 
permission  to  use  material  from  your  book...' 

CMANA  has  indeed  shown  much  interest  in  the  book  and  the  credit  goes 
naturally  to  Krishnan-Vijayalakshmi  who  thoughtfully  took  the  book  on  the  eve 
of  their  departure  and  presented  it  to  the  President  of  a  vibrant  association  in 
the  states. 

MADURAI  N.  KRISHNAN  -  VOCALIST:  (b.  1928) 

Place  of  birth  :       Madurai 

Parentage  :       Narayana  Ayyangar  and  Padmasini 

Musical  heritage  :      Father  is  a  musical  discourser  and  scholar  in  Sanskrit 

and  tamil. 


Elder  brother,  Srinivasa  Ayyangar  is  a  violinist. 

Madurai  Krishna  Ayyangar,  percussionist  (b.1927),  who 
studied  under  Jalatarangam  Babu  Ayyangar  is  a  cousin* 

Madurai  Srinivasa  Ayyangar,  another  cousin,  is  a 

Musical  training  :       Preliminary  training  under  father  and  elder  brother. 

Training  in  the  Tamil  Isai  School  at  Karaikudi 

Sangita  Vidwan  Diploma  from  the  Government  Music 
College,  Madras. 

To  crown  the  multi-sided  heritage,  musical  environment  and  training,  he 
entered  on  gurukulavasa  under  the  celebrated  Ariyakudi  Ramanuja  Ayyangar 
which  lasted  till  the  death  of  the  guru  on  23.01 .1 967.  Eighteen  years'  of  training 
is  something  remarkable.  The  earth  (guru)  was  not  inclined  to  sever  its 
connection  with  the  tree  (pupil)  and  the  tree  believed  that  such  severance  was 
no  freedom  to  it!  (Tagore's  epigram).  Madurai  Krishnan  made  his  debut  at 
Tirupati  in  1950  and  has  since  given  hundreds  of  concerts  all  over  India  on  the 
Radio,  Doordarshan  and  elsewhere.  The  traditional  training  and  background  and 
the  long  association  with  a  great  master  have  endowed  his  music  with  a  distinct 
stamp.  Krishnan  enjoys  a  rich  voice.  He  recollects  with  pride  the  incident  when 
he  was  called  upon  by  Ramanuja  Ayyangar  to  take  the  concert  when  the  latter 
got  suddenly  indisposed.  With  stalwarts  T.N.  Krishnan  on  violin  and  Palghat 
Mani  Ayyar  on  mridangam,  young  Krishnan  stole  the  honours  of  the  day. 

He  has  given  swara  notation  to  the  songs  of  Tiruppavai,  some  pasurams  of 
Nalayira  Divya  Prabandham,  besides  songs  of  Bharati  and  Ambhujam  Krishna. 
His  earlier  training  at  a  Tamil  Isai  School  should  have  helped  him  in  this.  Has 
composed  padams,  varnams,  tillanas  and  jatiswarams  which  are  adopted  by 
bharatanatyam  artistes.  He  is  the  Director  of  Sree  Bharathalaya,  Madras  with 
which  the  celebrated  artist  Sudharani  Raghupati  is  connected.  Has  produced 
musical  plays  like  'Krishna  Leela'  and  'Mathuriyam'.  His  mature  musicianship 
now  follows  Natya  Sastra  concept  of  music  being  an  aid  to  natya. 

Titles  &  Honours           :       Gana  Nidhi  from  Vaishnava  Association  -  1 979, 

Madura  Kala  Praveen  from  Satguru 

Sangeetha  Samajam                           -  1981, 
Honoured  by  the  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai 

Nataka  Mandram                                 -  1 992. 

SangeetNatakAkademy  Award           -  1988. 

Padma  Sri  by  President  of  India           -  1 992. 


One  of  the  renowned  nagaswara  vidwaos  of  the  present  enjoying  wide 
popularity,  large  practice  and  immense  prestige,  Namagiripettai  Krishnan  is  the 
son  and  disciple  of  Kathan.  He  underwent  further  training  with  Ganesan  of 


Aruppukottai  from  the  age  of  fourteen  and  cherishes  sweet  memories  of  his 
apprenticeship,  The  teacher  would  give  lessons  only  in  fits  and  starts  and  would 
stop  abruptly  too.  His  mother's  name  is  Kunjammal;  one  of  his  brothers  is  a 
percussionist  (tavil)  while  another,  Murugan  is  his  co-player. 

Krishnan  during  his  visits  abroad  for  concerts  had  an  interesting  experience 
too.  At  Paris,  the  host,  who  presented  him  with  a  costly  shawl  at  a  reception, 
came  to  him  after  the  function  and  requested  for  its  return  stating  that  he  had 
been  using  the  shawl  for  very  many  such  functions  -social,  cultural  and  political. 
Puzzled  and  intrigued  at  the  hypocritical  farce  and  un-lndian  practice,  he  silently 
returned  it !  Perhaps  alluding  to  occasional  experiments  by  some  artistes  with 
mridangam,  he  says  that  nagaswaram  and  tavil  are  inseparable  twins  like  Siva- 
Sakti  unity.  He  knows  to  play  on  violin  too.  He  is  the  accredited  vidwan  to  the 
Tirumalai  Tirupati  Devasthanams.  He  has  played  on  nagaswaram  for  many 

Honours  &  Titles: 

Sangeet  Natak  Akademy  Award.  1 981 

'Isai  Perarasu'  by  Tamilisai  Sangham  1983-84 

Saptagiri  Sangita  Vidwanmani  by  Tyagaraja  Trust,  Tirupati  1 992 

Has  been  honoured  with  many  other  titles  like  'Inkuzhal  Isai  Arasu', 
'Nagaswara  Isai  Mannar',  'Perunguzhal  Pulavar  Mani'  and  a  Doctorate  (one  of 
the  three  nagaswara  vidwans  who  enjoy  this  honour  now). 

*     *     * 
PATHAMADA!  S.  KRISHNAN  -  MUSICIAN  :  (20th  Century) 

A  distant  relative  of  Subramanya  Bharati  and  Ettayapuram  Ramachandra 
Bhagavatar,  guru  to  Pushpavanam,  Krishnan  carries  the  honorifics 
Sangitaramya  Kokilam  and  Sangita  Sahitya  Vidwan.  He  brought  out  a  book 
containing  Bharati's  songs  titled  'Bharatiyar  Padalgal' In  tamil. 

*     *     *     *     * 

Tyagaraja  heard  the  song  'Paramatmudu  '  (Vagadeeswari)  before  attaining  eternity, 
while  Muthuswami  Dikshitar  discarded  his  mortal  coil  as  he  was  hearing  'Meenalochani 
Pasamochani  '  -  Meenakshi  (Gamakakriya).  Many  illustrious  musicians  left  in  peace 
diluting  their  earthly  existence  in  divine  songs  of  their  liking.  Sangameswara  Sastri  died 
playing  Ananda  Bhairavi  on  veena.  James  H.  Cousins  wrote  to  Rukmini  Devi  Arundale 
that  Tiger  Varadachariar  wanted  to  be  sung  to  as  his  end  was  nearing.  He  was  engulfed 
in  bhajan  till  the  flames  engulfed  his  mortal  remains. 


PROF.  T.N.  KRISHNAN  -  VIOLIN  VIRTUOSO:  (b.October  16, 192i 

'  Now  loudly  let  the  viol  sound; 
The  lute  send  out  its  voice  with  might. '     —  (XCII.  Atharva  Veda) 

There  is  vibrant,  emotional  warmth,  technical  precision  and  perfection  in  h 
delightful  melodic  rendition.  The  serenity  and  tonal  virtuosity  are  soothing  ar 
endearing.  Evocative  improvisation  and  nuances,  tantalizing  subtlety  with  clarii 
providing  absorbing  interest  in  the  listener  mark  his  concerts.  His  impeccabl 
smooth  bowing  blends  severe  classicism  with  depth  and  fluency  with  polisf 
SVK  once  noted,  'his  notes  glisten  with  Carnatic  lustre  and  every  phrase  inth 
alapana  stands  dipped  with  Carnatic  sweetness.  The  use  of  the  full  bo\ 
produces  deep-toned  music  enriched  with  gamakas  with  resultant  grandeu 
and  grace'.  Above  all,  there  is  his  dignified  presence  on  the  stage  free  fron 
any  tinge  of  mannerism,  exuding  confidence,  cultured  decorum  and  robus 
refinement,  a  personification  of  perfected  knowledge.  This  is  Prof. T.N.  Krishnan, 
formerly  Principal,  Central  College  of  Carnatic  Music,  Madras  and  now  Head 
of  the  Department  of  Carnatic  Music,  University  of  Delhi. 

Born  at  Parur  as  the  eldest  son  of  Narayana  Ayyar  and  Narayani  Ammal, 
T.N.  Krishnan  had  his  initial  training  in  music  under  his  father  and  later  with 
K.  Parthasarathi  Ayyangar  and  Dr.  Semmangudi  Srinivasa  Ayyar,  to  whom  alone 
the  distinguished  professor  provided  accompaniment  long  after  he  switched 
over  to  solos  as  a  mark  of  his  respect.  Krishnan  drew  inspiration  from  the  play 
of  the  renowned  violinist  of  yester  years,  Papa  Venkataramaiah  in  'shaping  his 
aesthetically  rich  and  pregnantly  gamaka-laden  style'.  His  innate  genius 
expressed  itself  very  early  and  he  commenced  giving  accompaniment  from  the 
age  often.  He  became  popular  quite  soon  and  an  incident  could  be  quoted  in 
this  connection.  Guru  Srinivasa  Ayyar  was  giving  his  concert  at  the  Hindu  High 
School,  Triplicane  in  the  forties  probably  for  the  Parthasarathy  Swami  Sabha. 
Exhilarating  rendition  by  tender-aged  Krishnan  thrilled  the  audience  and 
evoked  frequent  applause.  The  vocalist  guru  intervened  to  say  that  while 
appreciation  would  do  good,  lavish  presents  of  the  same  might  mar  the  career 
of  his  young  ward  as  he  was  then  at  an  impressionable  stage  of  development. 
The  admiring  audience  understood  and  checked  its  emotional  propensity.  It  may 
be  mentioned  that  in  those  days  applause  was  EARNED  and  reserved  only  for 
the  very  best  rendition  and  that  the  present  practice  of  applauding  every  phrase 
and  every  time  as  in  tennis  courts  had  not  invaded  the  concert  halls. 


Prof.  Krishnan  has  robust  views  on  current  trends  in  the  music  world.  Says 

'  I  look  forward  to  anything  innovative  in  music,  because  variety  is  the  need  of  the 
day... Listeners  welcome  change.  It  is  a  challenge  and  only  enriches  traditional  music 
when  new  areas  are  explored  and  styles  tried  out.  In  fact  I  play  Western  pieces  in  my 
concerts  sometimes...  Thinking  should  not  stagnate.  ' 


It  should  not  be  thought  that  the  Professor  has  given  a  carte  blanche  to 
practitioners.  He,  actually,  insists  on  conscious  efforts  at  innovative  exploration 
in  full  knowledge  of  what  one  seeks  after  and  how.  Here  is  the  rider  to  his 
observations  which  by  themselves  would  be  termed  revolutionary  in 
conservative  circles: 

'  There  is  only  one  thing,  however,  which  is  that  the  young  should  also  be  sufficiently 
educated  about  the  traditions  they  inherit  and  the  conventions  they  break,  ' 

Prof.  T.N.  Krishnan  has  made  his  enlightening  clarification  at  the  Talavadyotsav 
'92  at  Bangalore  in  the  presence  of  a  large  number  of  artistes; 

"  Musicians  should  get  away  from  the  habit  of  singing  a  large  number  of  compositions 
mechanically,  but  using  the  songs  as  the  bases,  seek  to  project  the  image  of  their  ragas. 
I  am  adopting  this  approach  in  my  solo  recitals  and  probably  due  to  it,  they  attract  North 
Indian  listeners  in  large  numbers  to  my  concerts. " 

In  the  context  of  the  need  for  some  reorientation  to  revitalise  Carnatic  music 
to*  involve  greater  audience  receptivity  and  Prof.  Krishnan's  learned 
observations,  the  following  statement  of  Georges  Enesco,  Yehudi  Menuhin's 
master,  may  be  found  interesting: 

'Virtuosos !  Poor  devils !  They  are  just  like  convicts  (condemned  to  hard  labour),  martyrs... 
some  times  saints... ' 

(It  should  be  noted  that  Yehudi  Menuhin  had  great  regard  to  Enesco  and 
said,  'Everything  I  do  carries  his  imprint'.) 

In  Indian  music,  T.N.  Krishnan  refers  to  jugalbandi  among  areas  where  new 
techniques  can  be  tried.  He  says: 

1 1  have  played  with  Pandit  Ramnarayan  sarangi,  Ustad  Amjad  Ali  Khan  sarod,  Pandit 
Hari  Prasad  Chaurasia  flute,  Debu  Chaudhury  sitar  and  my  own  sister  Rajam  who  plays 
Hindustani  music  on  violin.  In  the  Camatic  tradition  I  have  played  with  Doreswami 
Ayyangar  veena.  I  have  enjoyed  these..particularly  with  the  sitar  and  sarod.. .There  is 
a  better  synthesis  between  the  plucked  instrument  and  the  bowed  ones  perhaps 
because  of  the  variety  it  bffers. ' 

He  has  a  note  of  caution  to  artistes  performing  in  jugalbandis  that  it  is 
important  that  each  should  keep  to  his  style  and  not  cross  territories  in  which 
case  it  could  be  disastrous.  1  am  not  against  jugalbandis.  People  like  it.  Of 
course,  due  concentration  and  effort  to  bring  out  the  salient  features  should  be 

Honours  &  Titles: 

Tenali  Sangeetha  Sabha  Vayuleena  Ratna  1 950 

Music  Academy,  Madras  Sangita  Kalanidhi  1 980 

President  of  I  ndia  Padma  Sri 


Sangit  Natak  Akademy,  Delhi  Award  1 974 

Karur  Sangeetha  Sabha  Honours 
Ganapathy  Sacchitananda  Sabha, 

Bangalore  Violin  Ratna 
Tantri  Vilas 

Sankaracharya  of  Kanchi  Mutt  Honours  1 980 

Mylapore  Fine  Arts  Sangita  Kala  Nipuna 

The  Academy  of  Music,  Bangalore  Chowdiah  Memorial  National  Level 

Award     1 983 

TTD  Devasthanams.  Asthana  Vidwan  1 977 

Kalasagaram,  Secunderabad  Kalasagara  1991 

President  of  India  Padma  Bhushan  1 992 

Sunada  Tantri  Vinodaka  Srimad  Andavan  Swamigal  1 992 

Saptagiri  Sangita  Vidwananmani  Tyagaraja  Trust,  Tirupati  1 992 

Concert  Tours: 

United  States  of  America  (8  times) 

United  Kingdom 

Australia  to  preside  over  the  Asian  Music  Symposium  sponsored  by  the  Australian 

Society  for  Indian  Music,  Sydney  - 1979. 
USSR,  Singapore,  Malaysia,  Sri  Lanka,  etc. 

Posts  Held: 

Professor  of  Violin,  Tamil  Nadu  Government  Music  College  - 1 964- 1 978. 

Principal,  Tamil  Nadu  Govt  Music  College,  Madras  - 1978-1985. 
Head  of  Carnatic  Music  Section,  Faculty  of  Music  and  Fine  Arts, 

Delhi  University  - 1 986  onwards, 

Vice  Chairman,  Sangeet  Natak  Akademy,  Delhi  - 1 992  onwards 

T.N.  Krishnan  has  occupied  several  other  important  assignments  such  as  - 

Chairman,  Audition  Board,  Sri  Lankan  Broadcasting  Corporation 

(deputed  by  AIR,  New  Delhi). 
Member,  Board  of  Examiners  of  some  Universities. 
Member,  Experts  Committee,  Music  Academy,  Madras. 
Executive  Board  Member,  Sangeet  Natak  Akademy,  Delhi  (two  terms) 
Visiting  Professor,  Centre  for  World  Music,  Berkeley,  USA. 

Disc  Recordings:       Quite  a  number. 

A  child  prodigy  T.N.  Krishnan  hails  from  a  musical  family.  Apart  from  his 
father-guru,  his  grandfather  Appadurai  Bhagavatar  of  Tiruppunithura  was  a 
musician.  His  sister  Dr.  N.  Rajam,  an  eminent  violinist  and  SNA  award  winner, 
is  the  Head  of  Department  and  Dean,  Faculty  of  Arts,  Benares  University. 
Daughter  Viji  Krishnan  and  son  Sriram  often  accompany  their  father  on  violin  in 
his  solos.  He  had  the  opportunity  to  provide  accompaniment  while  quite  young 
to  eminent  stalwarts  of  the  day  like  Ariyakudi  Ramanuja  Ayyangar  and  Chembai 
Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar  and  was  on  the  All  India  Radio  at  the  age  of  ten. 


There  was  an  element  of  drama  in  the  Music  Academy  conferring  the 
prestigious  title  of  'Sangita  Kalanidhi'  on  him  in  1980.  For  the  first  time,  some 
members  of  the  Experts  Committee,  which  was  then  in  charge  of  choosing  the 
candidate,  are  stated  to  have  gone  around  collecting  signatures  for  another 
artiste.  Suddenly  a  concerted  pincer  movement  was  set  in  motion  and 
Prof.  T.N.  Krishnan  carried  the  day  in  the  ballot  and  was  selected.  It  was 
perhaps  the  solitary  occasion  when  the  ballot  settled  the  issue! 

Prof.  Krishnan  enjoys  a  reputation  for  virtuosity  and  thrilling  classical 
rendition.  An  Award  rightly  describes  that  'in  his  hands,  the  instrument  exudes 
a  sweet  tonal  quality  which  imparts  an  indefinable  charm  to  his  playing.  His 
performance  style  is  closely  modelled  on  vocal  music*.  The  nadha  that  he 
produces  from  violin  is  suswara  incarnate.  While  felicitating  T.N.  Krishnan, 
C.V.  Narasimhan  mentioned  on  13  ,07.1992  that  the  celebrated  violinist  had 
provided  accompaniment  to  his  vocal  concerts  and  humourously  added  that 
they  were  cases  of  the  tail  wagging  the  dog.  He  said: 

'  What  moves  you  and  touches  your  heart  is  Suswaram  ;    and  Krishnan  is  an 
embodiment  of  Suswaram.  When  he  touches  the  shadja,  it  is  ambrosial  suswaram.' 

Prof.  Krishnan  is  presently  Vice-Chairman,  Sangeet  Natak  Akademy,  Delhi 
and  it  is  hoped  that  he  could  find  time  to  give  the  benefit  of  his  rich,  varied 
and  weighty  experience  to  guide  the  affairs  of  that  premier  institution. 


An  account  of  the  life  of  Bidaram  Krishnappa,  one  of  the  finest  of  musicians 
who  adorned  the  musical  horizon  in  Karnataka,  finds  place  at  pages  131-132  of 
A  Garland.  Additional  details  are  furnished  hereunder. 

Distress  while  young: 

Young  Krishnappa  came  home  crying  for  food.  Drowpati  of  Mahabharata 
had  by  chance  left  a  particle  of  food  in  the  vessel  for  Krishna  to  stifle  Sage 
Durvasa's  hunger  and  prevent  a  catastrophe.  But  poor  Saraswati's  lot  did  not 
enjoy  even  that  much  of  blessedness  and  her  Krishnappa  was  no  Krishna  either 
to  invoke  divine  powers!  She  shed  copious  tears  of  grief.  The  lad  ran  to  the 
nearby  Anjaneya  temple  and  dozed  off  singing  Devaranamas  on  an  empty 
stomach.  Dr.  Nanjundiah  who  chanced  to  see  him  gave  him  a  rupee.  The  boy 
would  go  over  there  and  earn  a  Ijjtle  by  singing  daily. 

Fortune  dawned  when  sahukar  Thimmayya  heard  him  and  was  impressed 
by  his  music  and  personality.  He  was  struck  by  the  pathetic  lot  of  Krishnappa, 
took  him  to  Karur  Ramaswamy,  a  musician  and  told  him  : 


'Well,  you  must  teach  this  boy  musia  Pray  accept  this  hundred  rupees  now.  Rxupthe 
nearest  auspicious  day  and  commence  the  tuitions.  Let  it  be  my  responsibility  to  see 
that  your  efforts  do  not  go  without  a  reward. ' 

It  was  a  magnificent  gesture  which  placed  him  on  the  sure  path  to  ultimate 
glory.  Krishnappa  never  forgot  his  distress  later  and  devoted  three-fourths  of 
his  time  to  teach  his  disciples  passionately.  'Let  them  not  suffer  that  ordeal  that 
had  been  my  fate  before',  he  believed.  Probably  that  was  the  reason  why  he 
was  harsh  to  Chowdiah  having  found  in  him  a  worthy  violin  wizard-in- 

Elephantine  bluff: 

An  interesting  incident  involves  both  Krishnappa  who  has  done  real  acting 
and  Mysore  Vasudevacharya.  The  circus  elephant  walks  on  two  legs  and  when 
the  circus-master  turns  his  back,  the  mammal  resumes  to  walk  on  all  fours  to 
the  amusement  of  the  gazers.  Krishnappa  and  Vasudevacharya  had  to  enact  a 
like  drama  to  throw  dust  in  the  eyes  of  their  patron  Maharajah  of  Mysore  to  cover 
up  their  ignorance!  It  was  float  festival  on  Chamundi  Hills.  The  ruler  asked  them 
to  sing  the  Dikshitar  kirtana  'MaHishasuramardini'  (Narayani).  Here  is  the 
account  of  what  transpired  in  Vasudeva's  words: 

1  Neither  of  us  knew  the  kirtana.  Dodda  Venkataramaniah,  violinist  knew  the  trend  of  the 
pailavi  alone  and  sang  it  for  us.  Oh!  that  was  enough!  When  the  float  moved  away 
from  the  bank  where  His  Highness  was  seated,  we  mugged  up  the  pailavi  otthe  kirtana 
As  the  float  neared  him,  we  started  singing  kalpana  swaras  to  the  pailavi  -  one  avarta 
each.  When  the  float  drifted  away  from  him,  we  kept  quiet!  God  spared  us!  ' 

How  effective  was  the  succour  of  God? 

1  Next  day,  His  Highness  called  us  both  and  said,  "You  sang  the  pailavi  of  the  kirtana 
excellently.  But  we  should  like  to  hear  the  full  song  as  well.  Please  learn  it  fully  and 
sing  day  after  tomorrow! "  His  Highness  smiled  knowledgeably  and  our  pale  faces 
managed  to  put  on  an  artificial  smile  !. 

The  man: 

His  recital  in  the  temple  at  T.Narasipur  did  not  gather  momentum.  He  was 
visibly  uncomfortable.  An  old  admirer  fathomed  the  reason  for  the  lack  of  warmth 
in  his  singing  and  held  out  a  pinch  of  snuff  in  the  most  professional  manner. 
Krishnappa's  face  brightened.  Immediately  self-respect  and  concert  decorum 
intervened  and  asserted  to  annihilate  the  temptation  and  Krishnappa  said, 
'Kindly  excuse  me,  Sir.  I  have  given  up  snuff'. 

And  it  was  not  a  statement  of  the  occasion.  To  live  up  to  the  averment,  he 
snuffed  it  out  of  his  life!  That  was  the  man  and  his  tenacious  character.  (But  that 
did  not  lead  to  fluctuations  in  the  snuff-market!  Semmangudi  Srinivasa  Ayyar, 
the  vocal  maestro  stepped  in  to  use  snuff  to  clear  his  nasal  obstructions!) 


Unrealised  wish: 

Krishnappa  cherished  a  wish  to  go  abroad  to  exhibit  his  expertise  and  the 
charm  of  Carnatic  Music.  Astrologers  assured  him  of  splendid  chances.  He  died 
on  July  29,  1931  with  his  unrealised  wish  cremated  with  him!  A  most  colourful 
personality,  Krishnappa  strode  through  the  streets  for  a  copper  while  young  as 
a  child  of  poverty  and  neglect  but  lived  to  be  a  Caesar,  a  colossus  among 
musicians  and  admirers. 

N.S.  KRISHNASWAMY  AYYANGAR  -  VOCALIST:  (b  January  31, 1914) 

A  distinguished  disciple  of  Kanchipuram  Naina  Pillai  and  Tiger 
Varadachariar,  Krishnaswamy  Ayyangar  learnt  raga  alapana,  etc.,  by  following 
Naina  Pillai  to  his  concerts.  He  was  voice  -  support  at  many  of  his  guru's 
performances.  Asampradaya  vidwan,  he  used  to  present  at  each  of  his  concerts 
at  least  one  new  song  and  a  rare  raga.  Was  on  the  teaching  staff  of  Kalakshetra. 
A  respected  senior  vidwan,  he  is  known  for  presenting  traditional  aesthetics  of 
ragas  and  his  raga  alapanas  are  rich  and  comprehensive. 


An  illustrious  ruler  of  Mewar,  Maharana  Kumbha  ascended  the  throne  on  the 
assassination  of  his  father  Mokal.  He  belonged  to  one  of  the  foremost 
celebrated  royal  families  of  Rajasthan  and  is  a  historic  figure  in  the  annals  of 
Rajasthan.  Tilhabhatta  was  his  preceptor.  A  Saivite,  he  was  very  tolerant.  He 
has  authored  quite  a  number  of  works  like 

Rasikha  Pr/ya,  a  commentary  on  Gita  Govinda, 
Sangitakrama  Dipika,  and 
Sangita  Mimamsa  or  Sangita  Raja. 

The  work  Sangita  Raja  is  perfect  in  its  exposition  and  elucidation  of  intricate 
musical  problems  and  is  remarkable  for  its  wealth  of  details  and  illustration,  says 
Dr.  Prem  Lata  Sharma  who  has  edited  the  work  for  the  Benares  Hindu  University 
(published  in  1 963).  The  work  is  mutilated  in  parts  and,  as  usual  with  such  great 
works,  some  credit  an  unknown  Kalasena  with  its  authorship.  The  great  cultured 
scholar-king  had  sifted  traditional  materials  critically  and  has  intelligently  utilised 
them.  His  style  is  expository  and  disputatious.  The  conception  of  the  plan  of 
the  work  is  original  and  grand.  His  theories  and  concepts  are  traditional/ 
Sangita  Raja  is  an  encyclopaedic  work  on  the  science  of  music,  dance,  musical 
instruments,  theory  of  rasa,  etc.  in  five  khandas  containing  16000 


sloka-measures.  It  is  a  matter  for  regret  that  the  remarkable  work  was  in  th< 
dark  robbing  it  of  its  merit  and  use  for  five  centuries. 

It  is  said  that  the  name  'Kumbhakama'  carried  no  wrong  attributes  with  it  ii 
the  past  Maharana  Kumbha  enjoyed  titles  like  Chapguru,  Todarmal  am 
Abhinava  Battacharya. 

S.R.  KUPPUSWAMY  -  MUSICOLOGIST:  (b.  September  27,  1914 

Place  of  birth  ;      Ayyampettai  near  Tanjore 

Parents  :      Ranganatha  Ayyangar  &  Ranganayaki. 

General  Qualification     :      Graduate  of  the  Madras  University 

Musical  Training  and  Learnt  Carnatic  music  under  Eddu  Ramudu  Bhagavatar, 

qualification  :          a  direct  disciple  of  Tyagarajah. 

Learnt  Hindustani  music  from  S.N.  Bhattacharya  of  the 
Benares  University. 

Master  of  Music  degree  from  U.S.A. 

Sangeethacharya  degree  from  All  India  Vidwat 
Sammelan,  Aligarh  University  in  1951. 

Posts  held  :      Lecturer  in  Music  at  the  Arts  College,  Sri  Ramakrishna 

Vidyalaya,  Perianaickenpalayam. 

Research  Student  in  Music,  Madras  University. 

Examiner  for  Music  Examinations  held  by  the  AH  India 
Vidwat  Sammelan. 

Member,  Local  Audition  and  Advisory  Committees, 
All  India  Radio,  Coimbatore. 

Journals  edited: 

Karnataka  Sangeetham,  a  monthly  music  journal  and  Tamilisai,  a  monthly  journal. 

S.R.  Kuppuswami  was  very  active  in  the  music  world  and  his  activities  were 
multi-sided.  He  had  conducted  research  studies  on  the  importance  of  music  in 
an!?r.ltamif  and  sanskrit  "texture  and  had  participated  in  vocal  programmes 
and  talks  on  music.  Has  composed  songs  in  Sanskrit  with  swara  notation.  The 
two  journals  he  edited  were  popular. 


A  Short  Survey  of  Music  of  North  and  South  India  (1947)  and 

Noodhana  Tamil  Sahityangal.  S.R.  Kupppuswami  hopes  his  script  on 
Music  in  the  days  of  Kalidasa1   will  soon  be  published. 

Title:     Karnataka  Sangeetha  Mani  by  the  Meikandar  Kazhagam,  Coimbatore. 



(b.  December  16,  1933) 

Adyar  Lakshmanan  is  a  fine  specimen  of  '  Sangeetha  '  of  Natya  Sastra 
connotation  in  combining  vocal  music  with  mridangam  and  bharata  natyam  - 
each  with  true  merit  and  knowledgeable  grace.  Kalakshetra  moulded  him  to 
flower  into  a  complete  and  comprehensive  artiste  who  gives  vocal  concerts, 
takes  part  in  dance-dramas,  trains  quite  a  number  in  bharata  natyam,  etc.  He 
is  a  vocalist,  dance  artiste,  mridangist  and  nattuvangam  all  in  one.  He  has  taken 
a  major  part  in  the  famous  dance-dramas  of  Kalakshetra  along  with  the 
celebrated  Dr.  Rukmini  Devi,  its  founder  and  under  her  direction.  Apart  from 
providing  nattuvangam  to  his  own  patron-tutor  Rukmini  Devi,  he  has  provided 
nattuvangam  practically  to  the  entire  galaxy  of  dancers  who  adorn  the  stage. 

Place  of  birth  :      Kuppam  (Andhra  Pradesh) 

Parents  :      N.  Krishnaraja  Rao  &  Godhavati  Bai 

Qualification  :      Matriculation 

Higher  Grade  Exam  in  Carnatic  Music  of  the 
T,N.  Directorate  of  Technical  Education. 
Diploma  in  Bharata  Natyam  &  Mridangam 

from  Kalakshetra  in         1954. 
Post-graduate  Diploma  in  Nattuvangam 

from  Kalakshetra  in  1 964. 

Teachers  for  vocal          :      Visweswaraiyah  of  Tiptur, 

music  The  galaxy  of  musicians  who  were  at  Kalakshetra  like 

the  Tiger,  Mudicondan,  Budalur  and  Vasudevachar. 

Training  in  :      Rukmini  Devi  Arundale,  Saradamba  Ammal,  etc. 


Training  in  :      Vittal  Ayyar  &  Karaikudi  Muthu  Ayyar. 


He  had  intensive  training  in  nattuvangam  and  kathakali  and  rich  experience 
even  while  he  remained  with  Kalakshetra.  Was  teacher  for  music,  bharata 
natyam  and  mridangam  in  it  and  Chief  Instructor,  Natyalaya,  Madras.  Presently 
he  is  Director  of  'Bharata  Choodamani'  founded  in  1969  by  him  which  throbs 
with  the  fragrance  of  the  graceful  art. 

Concert  tours : 

USSR,  Europe,  USA,  Australia,  Sri  Lanka, 
Singapore,  Malaysia,  Pakistan,  Guyana. 
Africa  is  the  one  continent  he  is  yet  to  grace. 


Honours  &  Titles  : 

UNESCO  Mandram  Award  for  nattuvangam  &  brilliant  compositions  1 97O. 

Kalaimamani  by  IN.  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram  1 981 . 

Padma  Sri  by  the  President  of  India  1 989. 

Sangeet  Natak  Akademi  Award  1991. 
(besides  other  titles) 

T.  LAKSHMANA  PILLA!  -  MUSICOLOGIST/COMPOSER;         (May  3,  1  864  - 

July  23,  1950 

The  Man: 

Known  for  his  high  integrity  and  honesty,  modesty  and  methodicity 
T.  Lakshmana  Pillai  was  a  bridge  between  malayalam  and  tamil,  east  and  west 
A  graduate  in  arts,  he  was  religious;  was  a  thinker  and  humanist, 
Dr.  S.  Venkatasubramonia  Ayyar  mentions  that  Lakshmana  Pillai  was  a 
sensitive  poet  and  a  serious  moralist,  that  he  was  a  stickler  for  tradition  and  a 
musicologist  of  merit,  Was  a  strict  vegetarian  and  was  a  respected  figure  in 
Kerala  and  Tamil  Nadu.  His  house  buzzed  with  the  visits  of  eminent  men  and 
women  like  Rabhindranath  Tagore,  Sarojini  Naidu  and  Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar 
His  ancestors  hailed  from  Tiruchendur. 

Place  of  birth  :      Trivandrum 

Parents  '      Thlraviam  Pillai  and  Valliammal  (Balaramavalli) 

Musical  training  ;      pappu  Pillai  (a  Nair  who  commanded  an  impressive 

under  vo'ce  and  who  was  a  terror  to  other  musicians  for  his 

aggressive  rendition),  Velu  Pillai  and  Picchu  Bhagavatar. 

Sathu  Bhagavatar  was  an  inspiration  to  him. 
Occupation  : 

Service  and  'Nadopasana'  ran  concurrently  in  his  life.  Was  in  the  Travancore 
U  1  Waf  !  Maj°r  TreasurV  Offi^r  last.    If  he  accounted  for 

°r  mUS''CianS  and  comP°^s,  ragas  and  swaras 
t0  mUSI'C'  he  had  his  Peer  ^  Vedanayakarn 

office  uhmPi/        ^anayakam  Pi"ai  had  a  tumultuous  career  in 

S  T  "ke  the  de'taic  river  runnin9  to  its  b""m,  smooth, 
UnCha"en9ed      Both  were    scholars    in   tamil    and   eminent 

The  Musician: 

to  do«i!!£?  ^  T"  When  his  Voice  failed  in  1  91  5,  he  had 
in  M.  Seshagiri  SaS^too  3nH  eXHP'°ratlon  and  expression.  He  had  his  mentor 
Sastry  told  Nm  ^  and  Pa>d  heed  to  his  advi^  to  avoid  excessive  trills. 


1  Ravais  (trills)  should  find  a  place  in  songs  only  as  a  diamond  in  a  necklace.  Diamonds 
should  be  used  sparingly  for  artistic  effect  and  they  should  be  set  off  by  gems  of  other 
colours  to  relieve  monotony  of  too  many  diamonds. ' 

The  Composer: 

The  sincerity  and  integrity  of  Lakshmana  Pillai  will  be  seen  in  his  writings. 
He  shares  his  rich  experience  when  he  writes  : 

'  I  wanted  to  compose  a  song  in  Todi  but  all  my  new  ideas  seemed  to  resemble  one  or 
the  other  of  Tyagaraja's  who  seemed  to  have  exhausted  all  the  potentialities  of  the  raga ! 
I  gave  up  the  attempt  in  despair.  Later,  after  six  months,  a  strain  occurred  all  of  a 
sudden  of  Todi  without  Panchama.,,' 

His  202  songs  'possess  rich  imagination,  new  thoughts  and  lofty  ideas' 
—  (Dr.  U.Ve.  Swaminatha  Ayyar).  He  composed  songs  in  chaste  tamil  on 
ethical,  devotional  and  philosophical  themes,  mostly  in  rakti  ragas  and 
demonstrated  that  tamil  as  a  language  is  as  good  as  any  other  for  lyrics.  He 
was  the  first  to  compose  in  raga  'Amarasena  Priya1  -  a  janya  of  Nitimati  (60th 
mela),  reportedly  named  after  the  philosopher  Emerson.  All  his  songs  with 
notation  and  essays  have  been  published.  Swara  notation  was  done  by  him, 
his  daughter  and  disciples.  His  daughter  Lakshmi  Narayanan  Nair,  Professor 
of  Music,  Women's  College,  Trivandrum,  Gayanapatu  Kirthanapatu  C.  Saraswati 
Bai,  Ranganatha  Ayyar,  N.C.  Vasantakokilam  and  Padmanabha  Ayyangarwere 
among  his  distinguished  disciples.  Veteran  M.S.  Ramaswamy  Ayyar  called  him 
'  Tamil  Tyagaraja '. 

A  musicologist  of  eminence,  he  published  in  1918  a  volume  of  essays  on  a 
variety  of  subjects.  His  rich,  analytic,  imaginative  mind  identified  the  finer 
characteristics  of  ragas  thus: 

Todi  :      Represent  the  majesty  of  a  stately  king  parading  his 

Bhairavi  pomp,  glory  and  his  lofty  passions  -  a  grand  and  sub- 

lime spectacle. 






Kambhoji  tender  devotion  with  prayers  and  tears. 

Project  the  serene  and  subdued  life  of  a  sage  in  a  lonely 
forest  contemplating  the  universe. 

Suggest  a  coy  maiden  hiding  her  lover  as  a  rose  does 
its  blooming  petals  beneath  its  bower  of  green. 

Fascinating  for  its  sadness,  like  a  maiden  estranged 
from  her  lover. 

Argues,  resents  and  remonstrates. 
Calm,  thoughtful  like  a  philosopher. 
Submissive  and  imploring,  melting  into  streams  of 


'Each  raga  comes  and  goes  with  its  store  of  smiles  and  tears,  passion  or 
pathos,  its  noble  and  lofty  impulses  and  leaves  its  mark  on  the  susceptible  mind.1 

Honours  &  Titles : 

Tamil  Kavi  Arasu  by  Annamalai  University. 

Sangita  Kala  Sikhamani  by  admirers. 

Member,  Travancore  Legislative  Assembly. 

Lakshmana  Pillai's  writings  bring  to  focus  the  musical  heritage  of  the  South, 
more  particularly  of  Travancore,  and  the  lives  of  many  great  men  who  would 
have  been  forgotten  but  for  him.  He  was  a  musicologist  and  composer  of 
eminence.  T.L  Venkatarama  Ayyar  identifies  him  as  a  pioneer  composer  of 
tamil  songs  fulfilling  the  requirements  of  classicism  and  the  demands  of 

1  We  have  keerthanas  of  the  classical  type  by  Papanasam  Sivan  and  Kotiswara  Iyer;  but 
the  compositions  of  Pillai  date  back  to  1893  long  before  the  present  renaissance  in 
classical  tamil  music  and  Pillai  can  well  claim  to  the  first  in  the  field. '  —  (T.LV.) 

Lakshrnana  Pillai  was  a  gentleman  to  his  fingertips,  a  tamil  scholar,  poet, 
composer,  essayist  and  a  pioneer  in  various  fields.  His  sane  views  on  Tamil  Isai 
(extracted  in  Part  I)  are  commendable. 

P.S.  LAKSHMI  -  GOTTUVADYAM  ARTISTE  (b.November  29,1925) 

Place  of  birth  :  Tirupati 

Parents  :  Chivukula  Subramanyam  -  Subbaratnamma 

Training  in  music  :  Under  Balakrishnaiah,  violinist 

Debut  in  :  1 947  -  Prize-winner  for  violin  recital  at  the  Music 

Academy,  M.S.  Gopalakrishnan  being  the  other  prize- 
winner then. 

As  a  violinist,  she  has  been  accompanying  artistes  on  the  All  India  Radio  and 
at  sabhas.  Since  1949,  she  switched  over  to  gottuvadyam,  convinced  of  its 
appeal  when  she  heard  Mannargudi  Savitri  Ammal  on  the  instrument.  She  has 
been  giving  gottuvadyam  performances  since  then. 

Lakshmi  celebrates  the  'monthly  Panchami'  festival  for  Tyagaraja.  At  the 
Annamacharya  festivals  at  Tirupati,  she  has  been  giving  vocal  concerts  with  her 
sister,  C,  Indramani.  Thus  P.S.  Lakshmi  enjoys  the  unique  distinction  of  being 
a  vocalist,  violinist  and  a  gottuvadyam  artiste. 



(b.:  c.1940) 

Place  of  birth  :      Sikkil,  a  pilgrim  centre. 

Parents  :       N.Srinivasa  Sastrigal  &  Kamakshi  Ammal. 

On  his  mother's  side,  Lakshminarasimha  Iyer  is  a  scion  of  the  family  of  the 
celebrated  Uthukadu  Venkatasubba  Ayyar  and  quite  fittingly  had  his  musical 
training  during  1950-58  with  his  uncle  Needamangalam  Krishnamoorty 
Bhagavatar  who  popularised  the  songs  of  his  ancestor.  Lakshminarasimha 
learnt  both  vocal  and  flute.  His  musical  appetite  longed  for  something  unique. 
During  1960-66,  he  had  training  in  nagaswaram  with  Kivaiur  N.Q.  Ganesa  Pillai. 
On  completion  of  his  training,  he  found  it  difficult  to  play  on  nagaswaram  with 
his  guru  in  the  alluvial  Cauvery  delta  owing  to  social  antipathy  to  a  brahmin 
playing  on  nagaswaram  -  quite  an  unheard  of  event.  Kurinji  may  flower; 
Mahamakham  and  Maha  Mela  may  be  celebrated  -  all  once  in  twelve  years.  But 
a  brahmin  to  play  on  nagaswaram  is  an  event  of  a  century  !  So  Iyer  had  to  shift 
to  the  more  congenial  hilly  tract  of  Palani  since  the  presiding  deity  there,  Lord 
Dandayuthapani  raised  little  objection  to  a  brahmin  playing  on  nagaswaram 
since  He  himself  has  settled  there  as  a  recluse  embittered  at  the  loss  of  a  fruit 
in  a  battle  of  wits  with  his  intellectual  elder,  Lord  Ganesha  ! 

Iyer  had  been  giving  concerts  having  made  his  debut  at  the  Krishna  Gana 
Sabha,  T.  Nagar  followed  by  three  hundred  concerts  at  different  centres  and 
sabhas  all  over  India.  He  has  been  a  music  teacher  at  the  Ghatam  Krishnayyar 
Music  School,  A.  Kalayamputhur,  Palani  for  the  last  two  and  a  half  decades.  A 
traditionalist,  he  has  come  up  for  praise  by  critics  and  music  lovers. 

Honours  &  Titles  :      Swami  Haridhos  Giri  appointed  him  as  the  Asthana 

Vidwan  of  Sri  Gnananandha  Swamigal  Mutt  in        1 974. 

Nagaswara  Surabhi  by  Sri  Nagaswarali  Sabha  on 


Nagaswara  Jyothi  by  Swami  Haridhos  Giri  on 


Honoured  by  the  Kanchi  Kamakoti  and  Sringeri 


Concert  tours  :       Malaysia  and  Singapore  in  1 984. 

Disc  recordings  : 


Bom  :      at  Vairamangalam. 

Studied  upto  :       S.S.LC.  at  Madras  and  Tanjore. 


Musically  inclined,  he  took  part  in  school  competitions  in  music  and  drama 
with  credit.  In  1948,  he  joined  as  a  disciple  with  the  late  Kalaimamani 
T.K.  Rangachari  and  was  with  him  as  his  voice-  support  for  long.  Made  his  debut 
at  Tanjore  at  the  celebrated  Bangaru  Kamakshi  Amman  temple  with  which 
Syama  Sastri  of  the  Trinity  was  connected.  Lakshminarayanan  has  received 
awards  from  the  Music  Academy  in  1 973  and  1 981  and  has  been  giving  concerts 
since  1 955  on  the  All  India  Radio  and  at  sabhas. 

He  is  also  a  lecturer  (part-time)  in  Kalakshetra  and  is  noted  for  his  crisp 
presentation  and  satisfying  voice. 

Concert  tour  :        USA  and  Canada  1 987. 

LAKSHMIRATNAMMAL  -  VOCALIST:  (c.l 888  -  July  29,  1 940) 

Daughter  of  Veenai  Dhanammal  and  younger  of  the  Dhanam  Sisters,  (the 
elder  being  Rajalakshmi),  Lakshmiratnammal  was  a  specialist  in  padams  and 
javalis.  Since  the  house  of  Dhanam  was  the  favourite  haunt  of  musicians  for 
long,  Lakshmiratnammal  had  her  training  not  only  under  her  illustrious  mother 
but  also  under  Tiger  Varadachariar,  Puliyodarai  Krishnamachariar,  Mysore 
Krishna  Ayyangar,  Pattabhiramiah  and  Dharmapuri  Subbarayar,  the  last  of 
whom  was  a  great  admirer  of  Dhanammal.  Learnt  Hindustani  music  from  the 
celebrated  Khan  Saheb  Abdul  Karim  Khan.  She  sang  for  Mylapore  Gowri 
Ammal's  bharata  natyam  also.  She  was  carried  away  by  the  floods  in  the 
Cauvery  during  the  Aradhana  at  Tiruvaiyaru  in  1 937  but  thanks  to  two  musicians, 
she  was  saved.  She  took  part  in  all  the  festivals  and  commanded  respect  from 
the  public  and  musicians. 

LUDWIG  PESCH  -  FLAUTIST:  (b.1955) 

123  years  after  Johann  Wolfgang  von  Goethe  left,  Ludwig  Pesch  was  born 
at  Bruchael  in  the  then  West  Germany  probably  to  give  a  reorientation  to 
East-West  Musical  Synthesis.  He  has  an  irrepressible  will  to  succeed  in 
endeavours  on  unbeaten  paths.  He  is  no  idle  adulator  but  is  an  action-  oriented 
pioneer  in  the  field  of  music  and  culture. 

His  'Raga  Dhana*  or  Practical  Guide  to  Karnatic  Ragas  (1 986)  is  a  compact 
compilation  of  the  raga  lakshanas  of  31 6  Carnatic  ragas  to  trace  mela  and  janya 
ragas  using  a  number  system  for  enlightenment  on  the  arohana  and  avarohana, 
This  pocket  guide  is  informative  to  all. 

Pesch  was  a  co-sponsor  of '  Sarnpradaya  ',  a  thriving,  throbbing  centre  at 
Madras  for  music  traditions  of  South  India.  The  centre,  started  in  1986, 


compiles,  records,  documents  and  propagates  musical  traditions  which  are 
personality-oriented.  It  is  open  to  the  public  for  reading  and  hearing  recorded 
songs,  interviews,  etc.,  which  are  all  very  valuable.  It  also  propagates  chamber 
music  without  amplification.  The  project  is  unique  and  is  well  conceived  for  the 
promotion  of  chaste  classical  music  and  preservation  of  the  rendition  of  great 

Yet  another  landmark  at  Madras  owes  its  existence  to  Pesch.  It  is  the 
'Sittarangam',  the  Small  Theatre  Madras  (1987).  Artistically  designed,  it  is 
simple,  traditional  and  inspired  by  temple  halls  and  descriptions  in  Natya  Sastra. 
It  is  described  as  a  'hermitage  of  monastic  simplicity  and  beauty',  This 
mini-theatre  was  got  up  by  Pesch  with  the  technical  support  of  his  friend, 

A  guide,  an  institution  and  a  mini  theatre  are  solid  achievements  but  they  do 
not  exhaust  his  advent.  He  has  become  a  competent  and  complete  classical 
Carnatic  flautist  who  has  drawn  praise  from  the  media  and  the  public,  His 
rendition  is  chaste  and  captivating  and  brings  out  the  bhava  and  rasa  of  the 
sahitya  (text).  He  has  given  quite  a  number  of  concerts  in  India  and  abroad 
drawing  copious  encomia.  If  Jon  Higgins,  the  vocalist  came  from  the  States, 
Pesch,  the  flautist  has  come  from  Germany.  Pesch  is  a  disciple  of  veteran 
H,  Rarnachandra  Sastri  of  Kalakshetra,  Madras  where  he  got  a  First  Class 
Diploma  and  did  his  post-graduate  studies.  Earlier  he  had  his  studies  in  Western 
music  at  Freiburg  Musikhochschule  and  University.  In  1981  he  made  his  debut 
as  support  flautist  to  guru  H.  Ramachandra  Sastri  and  soon  started  giving 
independent  performances  too.  It  is  a  tribute  to  the  intense  dedication  and 
robust  culture  of  Pesch  who  came  to  India  as  a  stranger  with  nothing  but  love 
of  Indian  music,  a  passion  to  master  it  and  a  will  to  make  an  impressive  grade 
too.  He  was  not  content  to  be  a  mere  '  also-ran  '.  Young  Pesch  has  done 
extensive  photographic  documentation  of  traditional  South  Indian  music  in  its 
cultural  contexts  availing  of  the  assistance  of  ICCR,  DAAD  (German  Academic 
Exchange  Service)  and  International  Lalit  Kala  Foundation,  Santa  Barbara, 
USA.  He  is  an  active  cultural  ambassador  who  has  emotionally  integrated 
himself  to  the  pristine  glories  and  traditions  of  South  Indian  music  and  is  now  a 
golden  link  with  the  West. 


A  disciple  of  Wallajahpet  Venkataramana  Bhagavatar,  Narayana  Sastri  is 
credited  with  the  pioneering  publication  of  Tyagaraja's  operas. 



MADURA  KAV1  BHARATi  -  (died  1806) 

Son" of  Ganapati  Subbayyar,  Madura  Kavi  Bharati  hailed  from  Perungarai  in 
Ramnad  District,  a  bee-hive  of  eminent  composers  in  tamil  like  Kavi  Kunjara 
Bharati  and  Kotiswara  Ayyar  who  composed  the  72  melakarta  raga  songs. 
Madura  Kavi  had  inspired  Kunjara  Bharati  in  his  poetical  pursuits.  His  puissant 
genius  was  recognised  by  the  Raja  of  Ramnad  and  the  title  'Madura  Kavi' 
(Honeyed  Poet)  conferred  by  him. 

C.WL  MADURANATH  -  FLAUTIST:  (20th  Century) 

Maduranath  is  one  of  the  performing  flautists  of  Karnataka  in  traditional 
style.  He  had  the  good  fortune  of  learning  under  the  celebrated  TR.Mahalingam 
(Mali)  and  pursues  his  style  of  rendition.  Hails  from  Tumkur,  a  prominent  town 
in  Karnataka.  Leading  artistes  have  provided  accompaniment  to  Maduranath. 
He  runs  a  music  school  at  Bangalore  specifically  to  train  flautists. 

Concert  tour:  Europe 

T.R.  MAHALINGAM  (alias  MALI)  -  FLUTE  PRODIGY:  (Novr.6, 1926  - 

May  31, 1986) 

It  is  the  privilege  and  sagacity  of  a  chosen  few  to  conjure  up  grand  classical 
visions  of  supreme  sublimity  presenting  beauteous  graces  and  portraying 
graceful  beauty.  They  open  up  magnificent  vistas  of  art,  enchant  the 
congnoscenti  and  the  lay.  The  spell  outlasts  their  periods  of  glory  and  fame. 
Sarabha,  the  flautist,  Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar  and  Pushpavanam,  the 
vocalists,  T.N.  Rajarathinam,  the  nagaswara  player  and  S.G.  Kittappa,  the 
dramatist  are  specimens  of  this  legendary  galaxy.  To  this  aristocracy  of  art 
belongs  T.R.  Mahalingam,  popularly  called  Mali.  When  Sarabha  left  after  two 
and  thirty  years  in  1904,  there  was  a  vacuum  with  Palladam  Sanjiva  Rao  and 
others  holding  charge.  It  was  left  to  Talagnayar  in  Tanjore  district  to  present 
after  the  lapse  of  two  decades  a  flute  prodigy  who  staged  a  quick  and  massive 
presence,  plundered  the  hearts  of  music-lovers  and  looted  all  praise!  His 
debut  was  immediate  in  1933  at  the  age  of  seven  at  the  Tyagaraja  Festival, 
Mylapore.  Like  the  eastern  sun  which  shoots  out  sans  twilight  on  the  Marina, 
there  was  no  period  of  apprenticeship  or  vegetating.  The  lad  came  with  his 
magician's  play  on  the  bamboo  flute  and  was  crowned  king! 


His  exhilarating  flute-play  dwarfed  the  mature,  sedate  play  of  Palladam 
Sanjiva  Rao,  who,  incidentally,  did  not  evince  interest  earlier  in  taking  the  boy 
as  his  ward.  There  is  no  account  of  Mali  following  the  footprints  of  Ekalavya  but 
like  Uthukadu  Venkatasubba  Ayyar,  he  was  his  own  master  -  with  the  difference 
that  Mali  could  not  emulate  the  Uthukadu  pattern  of  sublime  private  life! 
Music-lovers  thronged  Mali's  concerts.  An  eka  santha  grahi,  he  saw  the 
contours  of  raga  shapes  on  the  horizon  and  developed  his  play  pouring  out 
enchanting,  titillating  alapanas  and  swaras  with  the  support  of  his  tender  lungs.  - 
His  melody  blitzkrieged  the  music  world  and  the  audience  sat  soaked  in 
transcendental  melody,  chaste  and  warm,  mind  and  body  tuned  to  the  vibrant 
but  soulful  music.  Like  Veena  Balachander,  Mali  'is  credited  with  evolving  a  style 
close  to  vocal  rendition  that  took  care  of  the  sahitya  and  the  bhava  conveyed 
therein.  Says  his  renowned  disciple  and  flautist  Dr.  N.  Ramani: 

1  The  secret  of  his  success  was  his  adopting  a  special  technique  of  cross-fingering  of  a 
compound(character  and  his  superb  command  and  grip  over  laya.  His  music  was  akin 
to  the  royal  style,  a  departure  from  that  of  his  predecessors.,  .his  nimble  fingers  caressed 
the  curves,  flashed  out  the  glories  of  swara  prastara  in  striking  succession.  His 
technique  was  remarkable  resulting  in  a  rich  tonal  quality.  ' 

Mali's  rendition  enraptured  the  audience  and  he  was  a  legend  as  a  teenager. 
Verily  a  divine  messenger  in  Carnatic  music,  he  knew  its  boundless  dimensions.' 

Son  of  Ramaswami  Ayyar,  Mali  was  born  at  Tiruvidaimarudur  and  learnt 
vocal  music  from  Jalra  Gopala  Ayyar  along  with  his  elder  brother  Gouthaman. 
He  switched  over  to  flute  soon.  His  ascent  to  the  top  centre  stage  was  so  quick 
and  dynamic  that  there  was  difficulty  in  finding  accompaniment  as  juniors  felt 
dazed  while  seniors  were  ill  at  ease  to  be  sidemen  to  a  boy!  Quite  soon, 
reluctance  of  seniors  gave  place  to  a  rush  to  participate  in  his  concerts! 
Mali  -  Palghat  Mani  were  the  select  top  pair  like  Miller  -  Lindwall  or 
Prasanna  -  Chandrasekhar  in  cricket  and  S.G.  Kittappa  and  K.B.  Sundarambal 
in  drama.  There  was  perfect  identity  of  approach,  anticipation  and  understanding 
between  the  two  colossuses  in  presenting,  rhythm  supported  melody,  vibrant 
music  each  prodding  and  complementing  the  other.  The  identity  did  not  rest  with 
partnership  on  the  concert  stage  and  forming  a  grand  alliance.  Both  were 
prodigies;  both  shot  into  fame  like  the  Caesar's  veni,  vidi,  vici;  and  both  left  this  j 
planet  in  the  month  of  May!  It  is  perplexing  that  unpredictable  Mali  and  stoic 
Mani  could  forge  an  enduring  partnership.  They  were  poles  apart  in  personal 
traits  and  yet  they  understood  and  appreciated  the  artistic  merits  of  each  other 

Mahalingam  left  a  rich  crop  of  disciples  in  Dr.  N.  Ramani,  Dr.  Prapancham 
Seetharam,  T.S.  Sankaran,  N.  Kesi,  Dindigul  Natarajan,  N.S.  Srinivasan, 
K.S.  Narayanan  and  L  Sundaram. 


Mali  was  a  good  violinist  too  and  had  provided  accompaniment  to  stalwarts 
and  given  solos.  Veterans  had  given  violin  support  to  him  too.  It  was  a  challenge 
to  keep  time  to  his  devilrous  play  sometimes.  It  is  said  that  AT.  Kannan 
committed  an  error  once  and  Amjad  Ali  Khan  had  to  request  Kishan  Maharaj  to 
keep  the  beats  so  that  Mali  could  resume  the  concert,  Dwaram  Venkataswami 
Naidu  and  Papa  Venkataramayya,  senior  violinists  were  on  cordial  terms  with 

Mali  married  Ellen  Dryer  of  USA  in  1974  and  returned  to  India  last  in  1985, 
The  magnificent  grandeur  and  clarity  he  commanded  in  music  did  not  find  a 
sympathetic  chord  in  his  personal  life,  His  punctuality  was  notorious.  Kavignar 
Kannadasan,  a  tamil  poet  of  eminence  used  to  say  humourously,  'Emmadamayinum 
sammadam;  aanaal  ennudaiya  madam  taamadam'  (whatever  be  the  religion,  it  is 
the  same  to  me;  but  my  religion  is  lack  of  punctuality)!  Mali  was  a  staunch 
devotee  of  the  latter  half  of  the  dictum.  When  violin  maestro  Lalgudi  Jayaraman 
queried,  'You  are  cancelling  engagements  so  often;  if  you  do  not  like  any,  why 
should  you  accept  the  offer  at  all?1,  Mali  enlightened  him  saying,  'How  can  i 
cancel  if  I  do  not  accept  one?'  and  laughed  away  little  conscious  of  the  damage 
to  his  image.  Probably  the  fact  that  he  was  at  the  peak  of  glory  while  still  so 
young  had  upset  the  even  tenor  of  his  life  and  injected  a  massive  dose  of  lack 
of  equilibrium,  restlessness  or  discontent  or  distrust  with  himself.  When  as  a 
boy  of  ten,  he  found  himself  'blessed  with  a  tone,  shaped  into  musical  phrases, 
risings  and  fullings  by  fingers  directed  by  genius  already  mature',  how  could  he 
hold  on  for  five  long,  long  decades?  He  could  rarely  'add  to,  or  develop  the 
perfectly  presented  flute  attributes!  Mali  probably  faced  the  problem  of  the  ... 
tyranny  of  tone,  a  fulfilled  unchanging  flute  language'  coming  in  the  way  of  his 
musical  expression  and  personal  life.  A  spiritual  outlook  would  have  solved  it. 
Probably  Mali  did  not  invoke  it.  ( Vide  Page  309  of  A  Garland.) 

One  has  heard  of  Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  declining  to  sing  'Giripai*  stating 
that  it  had  become  the  property  of  Bikshandarkoil  Subbarayar  and  of 
Harikesanallur  Muthiah  Bhagavatar  withdrawing  his  recording  of  'Evarani'  when 
he  heard  S,G.  Kittappa's  rendition  of  that  song.  Mali  joined  this  noble  tribe  when 
he  asked  All  India  Radio  not  to  broadcast  some  of  his  discs  on  the  plea  of  lack 
of  standards  !  A  lofty  deed  in  truth. 

Disc  recordings. 
Concert  tours  : 


Titles  : 

PadmaSri  (1965), 
Venugana  Alankara, 
Madurakala  Praveena. 


indescribable  softness  and  exhilarating  melody  with  crisp  adherence  to  tala 
and  identity  with  sruti  were  the  hallmark  of  his  flute-play.  Probably  the  world  of 
art  lost  much  by  his  imponderable  life. 


(20th  Century) 

Parents  ;       Subramania  Filial  &  Pattammal 

Place  of  birth  :       Tiruvidaimarudur 

Learnt  Tavil  under  Tiruvalaputhur  Pasupathiah  Pillai  and  has  given 
accompaniment  to  several  reputed  nagaswara  vidwans  including 
P.S.  Veeruswami  Pillai.  He  was  honoured  by  the  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka 


Mahendra  Varman,  the  Pallava  Ruler  of  Kanchipuram,  figures  in  the  life  of 
Apostle  Appar  for  persecuting  him  and  later  finding  himself  converted  to  Saivism 
by  the  same  Appar.  He  was  an  expert  in  tamil  music  and  was  responsible  for 
the  Kudumiamalai  inscriptions  in  Pudukottai  district.  The  main  inscription 
mentions  the  tamil  pannsShadjaGramam,  MadyaGramam,  Gandaram,  Kaisika 
Madyannam,  Panchamam  and  Sadarikam.  Gramam  is  a  group  of  tunes.  Four 
types  of  panns  and  the  manner  of  singing  them  are  furnished. 
Dr.  Mu.  Arunachalam  states  that  the  classification  of  four  types  had 
disappeared  long  ago,  that  the  notes  would  seem  to  be  both  for  singing  and 
playing  on  the  yazh,  The  inscriptions  occupy  an  area  of  1 3'  by  1 4'  arranged  in 
seven  sections  with  sub  sections  each  comprising  fifteen  sets  of  four  swaras. 
Full  swara  notation  for  many  grama  forms  which  were  then  in  currency  are  given. 
One  cannot  but  wonder  at  the  vast  musical  knowledge  of  the  ruler  and  his  great 
concern  to  perpetuate  the  same  following  the  rock  edicts  of  Asoka. 

R.  Sathyanarayana  of  Mysore  Brothers,  in  his  'Kudumiamalai  Inscriptions  on 
Music',  states  that  the  inscriptions  are  in  pallava  grantha  script  containing  all  the 
headings  and  the  colophon  in  samskrithi  with  a  line  in  tamil  at  the  end.  The  term 
'Sankirna  Jati '  occurring  in  the  inscriptions  is  stated  to  be  an  honorific  of  the 
king  in  recognition  of  his  expertise.  'It  contains  quadruple  groupings  of  musical 
notes  pertaining  to  the  seven  archaic  suddha  grama  ragas...  a  precious  evidence 
of  musical  practices  in  ancient  India.'  Authorities  cited  include  Bharata, 
Matanga,  Narada  and  Sarngadeva  and  contains  musical  data  from  puranas. 
The  inscriptions  are  stated  to  have  given  rise  to  different  views  and 


A  similar  inscription  at  nearby  Thtrumayam  in  Pudukottai  district  has  suffered 
damage  badly. 

MANGALAM  :  VEENA  ARTISTE:  (b.  March  3, 1937) 

Place  of  birth  :      Sivaganga  (now  a  district  headquarters.  Whether 

Papanasam  Si  van's  'Sivaganga  Nagaranivasini'  relates 
to  this  place  is  not  clear.) 

Parentage  :      S.V.  Subramanya  Ayyar  &  Lakshmi  Bai,  a  disciple  of 

Pallaswami  Raju  and  daughter  of  Flautist  Kothandarama 

Musical  training  :      Initially  with  mother;  later  under  Visalakshi,  Rishi  Valley 


Debut  :      At  the  Shashtiabthapoorti  of  C.  Ramaswami  Ayyar. 

Mangalam  Muthuswami  has  been  giving  veena  concerts  in  India  and  abroad 
and  on  the  AH  India  Radio,  including  a  series  of  recitals  for  the  benefit  of  refugees 
from  Bangladesh.  Gives  vocal  concerts  too  and  her  play  on  veena  'exudes  firm 
grasp,  depth  and  clarity'. 

Concert  tours  :      Singapore, Australia,  Middle  East. 

Award  received  ;      Surmani  Award  of  Sursagar  Samsad. 

Posts  held  : 

Faculty  Member,  Baratiya  College  of  Music  and  Fine  Arts,  Bombay  (1978  - 1 986) 
Faculty  Member,  Sri  Shanmukhananda  Fine  Arts  &  Sangeetha  Sabha  (Since  1986) 
Examiner,  Vocal  Classical  Diploma  Course,  Bombay  University  (three  years) 

KARAIKUDI  R.  MANI  -  MRIDANGAM  MAESTRO:       (b.September  11,1945) 

Mani  was  bom  at  Karaikudi,  of  Ramanatha  Ayyar  who  taught  mathematics 
and  vocal  music  at  the  High  school.  It  was  not  a  strange  combination  of  subjects 
for  a  pedagogue  but  the  traits  and  attitudes  of  the  father  were  inherited  by  Mani, 
who  was  subjected  to  a  rigorous  programme  of  multi-pronged  training  in  vocal 
music  for  an  hour,  mridangam  for  an  hour  and  school  lessons  for  an  hour  to 
qualify  for  his  morning  cup  of  coffee  from  the  exacting,  knowledgeable  parents ! 
As  a  boy  his  interest  in  music  was  immense  and  dedicated.  He  had  his  training 
in  percussion  for  varying  periods  under  - 

Karaikudi  Rangu  lyengar  who  was  running  a  mridangam  school 

at  Karaikudi, 


T.R.  Harihara  Sarma,  who  runs  a  school  at  Madras  and 
K.M.  Vaidyanathan,  the  ghatam  artiste. 

Having  made  his  debut  at  the  age  often,  Mani  had  been  providing  percussive 
support  at  concerts,  harikathas  and  bhajans.  He  became  a  devotee  of  Tanjore 
Vatdyanatha  Ayyar's  style  and  won  the  President's  Gold  Medal  in  the  AH  India 
Radio  Music  Competition  1962  and  later  a  Merit -Scholarship  for  advanced 
training.  Karaikudi  Mani  is  now  a  top  artiste  providing  thrilling  percussion  to  top 
musicians.  Calm,  collected,  he  gives  compact,  wsil-planned  display  of  rhythmic 
excellence,  innovative  variations  and  subtlety.  He  provides  constructive  support 
to  the  principal  musician  and  does  not  believe  in  loud  displays.  He  has  pleasing 
p!ays  rich  artistry,  virtuous  styles,  clarity  and  appealing  rhythm. 

He  is  the  Founder-Director  of  the  'Sruthilaya'  percussion  ensemble  which 
seeks  to  present  scholarly,  intellectual  rhythmic  play  in  traditional  styles.  The 
ensemble  has  toured  USSR,  France,  Italy,  Belgium  and  U.K.  Sruthilaya  is 

available  only  for  concerts  abroad  and  for  recordings.  His  organising  ability  is 
further  reflected  in  his  Tala  Vichitra  ensemble  and  the  founding  of  '  Sruthilaya 
Seva  Trust 5.  Training  is  provided  to  capable  students. 

'Helodyssey*  of  musical  orchestration  of  cultures  inaugurated  at  Madras  in 

^December  1991  is  another  venture  of  Karaikudi  Mani  comprising  forty  artistes 
of  South  Indian,  North  Indian  and  Western  instruments  with  voices. 

The  unique  character  of  Mani  is  his  not  accepting  titles!  And  he  reigns  along 
with  other  giants  of  the  art  showing  how  such  titles  have  .little  impact  on 

percussive  advents  and  popularity  and  the  true  image  of  a  talented  artiste. 

Disc  recordings  : 

*     *     * 

-  PERCUSSIONIST:  (bJune  21 ,1895) 

Parents  :      Sankaranarayana  Ayyar  alias  Sri  Sangappa  Swamigal 

and  Lakshmi  Ammal. 

Percussion  training        :      Mamundia  Pillai,  a  percussion  maestro  and 
under  Paiani  Muthiah  Pillai. 

Mani  Ayyar  made  his  debut  in  1 920  and  had  accompanied  prominent  artistes 
on  ghatam.  The  Music  Academy,  Madras  honoured  him  with  a  Certificate  of  Merit 
in  1962. 

S.S.  MANI  BHAGAVATAR  -  VOCALIST:  (died  1987) 

Panangudi  Mani  Bhagavatar  underwent  bona  fide  gurukulavasa  under 
Papanasam  Sivan  during  the  thirties  and  inherited  the  rich  legacy  of  the 


illustrious  composer.  (The  author  had  the  good  fortune  of  sitting  at  the  feet  of 
Sivan  when  Mani  was  a  very  senior  disciple  of  his.)  Mani  later  served  as  Locturer 
in  the  Kalakshetra,  Madras  but  died  prematurely.  Unfortunately  details  are 
wanting  in  respect  of  his  life. 

K.S.  MANJUNATHAN  -  GHATAM  ARTISTE  :  (Deer.  27  1921  -  April  23,1 989) 

Manjunathan  of  Bangalorfe  was  a  prominent  ghatam  vidwan  who  haxi  been 
giving  able  and  distinguished  support  at  concerts.  He  had  training  with  S  rin i vasa 
Ayyar  and  LS.  Seshagiri  Rao.  He  had  been  the  recipient  of  honours  including 
the  Rajyotsava  Award  and  the  title  of  'Karnataka  Kala  Thilakam'  from  the 
Karnataka  State  Nritya  Academy.  His  ghatam  accompaniment  finds  a  record  in 
disc  recordings  also. 

An  All  India  Radio  Artiste,  Manjunatha  was  a  renowned  and  popular  artiste, 

*     *     * 


Mariappaswami  was  giving  concerts  from  his  twentieth  year  and  weis  a 
popular  figure.  He  had  composed  three  hundred  songs  on  religious  and 
philosophical  themes.  Has  written  songs  for  films  also. 

Concert  tours:  Sri  Lanka  &  Malaysia. 

*      *      * 

MATANGA  MUNI  -  MUSICOLOGIST:  (7-8th  century) 

The  period  to  which  Matanga  belongs  is  not  clear.  The  name  finds  mention 
in  the  Ramayana,  Mahabharata,  Matanga  Lila  and  Raghuvamsa.  Whether  the 
musicologist  of  great  merit  and  reputation  is  one  of  these  puranic  celebrities  or 
different  is  not  known.  'Brhaddesi'ls  the  work  of  Matanga.  Sambasiva  Sastri 
who  had  edited  the  book  for  the  Trivandrum  Sanskrit  Series  says  that  nothing  is 
known  of  the  date  of  the  work  or  its  author.  As  the  work  refers  to  Bharata,  Kohala, 
pattila,  etc. ,  it  should  relate  to  a  later  period  than  they.  Nanyadeva  (1 097-  11  33) , 
in  his  'Saraswati  Hridayalankara' ,  written  as  a  commentary  on  Natya  Sastra, 
pays  obeisance  to  Matanga  thus: 

'How  could  people  of  lesser  intelligence  succeed  in  swimming  across  the  Ocean  of 
Melodies  when  such  exponents  of  music  like  Matanga  had  failed  to  cross.  ' 

Matanga  views  that  no  classical  melody  can  be  composed  of  four  notes  or 
less.  He  is  reputed  to  have  bpen  an  expert  in  musical  instruments.  Gowri 
Kuppuswamy  -  M.  Hariharan  mention  that  Matanga  would  seem  to  have  graced 
the  Court  of  Harsha  (607-647  A.D).  Matanga  is  the  first  musicologist  to  use  the 


word  raga  in  ragakadarnbaka,  ragatalamalika  or  ragamalika  (  navaratnamalika 
or  nakshatramalika,  pakshamalika  or  chaturdasamalika  ).  If  Matanga  is  the 
father  of  desi  prabandhas  the  prabandhas  were  the  forerunners  of  all  later 
musical  compositions.'  (Dr.  S.  Seetha) 

'Matanga  undoubtedly  excels  all  others  in  lucidity,  erudition  and  details.' 


A  musician  of  amiable  manners,  Meenakshisundaram  Pillai  brought  out  the 
book  'Tyagaraja  Kirthanai Porul  Vilakkam'to  explain  the  content  and  significance 
of  the  songs  of  the  Bard  of  Tiruvaiyaru. 


PERCUSSION  WIZARD:      (1894  -  February  11, 1949) 

Meenakshisundaram  Pillai  was  a  legend  in  the  field  of  percussion.  He  was 
widely  known  and  much  respected.  A  genius,  his  fingers  did  magical  feats,  and 
the  tavil  he  handled  revealed  exhilarative  potential  in  rhythm  and  his  art  bordered 
on  riotous  devilry.  He  was  able  to  bring  out  stunning  and  surprising  subtleties 
in  laya.  His  sensitivity  to  Art  extended  to  his  personal  belongings  like  polishing 
off  his  betel  box  almost  every  minute  and  provide  an  attractive  cloth  cover  even 
to  his  (betel)  nut-cutter!  The  genius  was  a  diabetic  and  while  asleep  dissolved 
himself  with  eternity  keeping  up  his  rhythm  with  nature.  He  was  good  at  playing 
kanjira.  Had  great  (mutual)  respect  for  Pudukottai  Dakshinamoorti  Pillai.  At  a 
concert,  Dakshinamoorti  Pillai  playing  mridangam  forced  him  to  sit  on  level  with 
him.  Meenakshisundaram  felt  that  it  was  an  insult  to  the  dignity  of  the 
Pudukkottai  maestro  to  sit  so  and  stopped  playing  on  kanjira  itself!  The  tone  of 
his  play  was  strong  and  impeccable  and  his  solos  permutational  and  captivating. 

What  was  his  public  image?  Here  are  two  old  incidents  given  long  ago  by 
S.R.  Kuppuswami,  Editor,  Carnata  Sangeetham  : 

"Needamangalam  was  playing  wonderfully  but  his  figure  was  not  visible  to 
those  standing  beyond  the  close  ring.  One  resikha  in  the  surging  crowd  was 
anxious  to  know  who  it  was,  captivated  by  the  play,  and  enquired.  Casually  I 
said  that  'it  was  some  new  hand'.  The  rasikha  observed: 

1  Whatever  it  be,  it  cannot  be  like  Meenakshisundaram  !  This  player  has  to  toil  hard  much 
more  and  his  hands  should  speak  the  language  much  more  (to  bring  out  the  fire  of  Pillai's 

Another  time.  At  Tiruvaiyaru,  a  local  tavil  artiste  was  playing.  Someone 
enquired  and  I  replied  just  for  fun  'Meenakshisundaram'.  Prompt  was  the 



1  Aha,  What  a  grand  pSay  ?  What  a  fingering  ? 
A  lion  is  always  a  Lion! ' 

Meenakshisundaram  was  the  word  for  dynamic  excellence.  He  drew  crowds 
wherever  he  went.  A  grandmaster  in  percussion,  he  was  affable  and  genial  and 
he  played  with  ease  but  with  snexhaustive  energy.  A  creative  artiste,  few  could 
match  his  innovative  artifices  and  combinations,  sound  permutations  and  laya 
intricacies.  N.R.  Bhuvarahan  says: 

The  syllables  that  now  murmered  and  now  rumbled  and  thundered  from  his  tavil  were 
thriling  with  sweetness  and  strength,  melody  and  rhythm.' 

Wizard  Panchami,  who  died  young  as  genius  perhaps  has  to,  once  told  Pillai, 

1  cannot  produce  your  rhythm  and  melody.'  A  rare  tribute  by  another  titan. 

Pillai's  disciples  inluded  - 

N.T.M.  Shanmugha  Vadivel,  son,  Nachiarkoil  Raghava  Pillai,  son-sn-  law, 
Mayavaram  Govindaraja  Pillai  and  Pandanalfur  Ratnam  Pillai. 

Disc  recordings  :       He  had  accompanied  Sembanarkoil  Ramaswami  Pillai. 

Title  :        'Abhinava  Nandiswarar1 

Kanchipuram  Naina  Pillai  told  Dakshinamurti  Pillai  that  'mere  profes- 
sionalism is  not  a  guarantee  of  intelligent  listening'  and  picked  out  one  from  the 
crowd  at  Sri  Kapaliswarar  temple  who  kept  the  beat  with  precision  and  perfection 
even  during  the  three-speed  tempo  pallavi.  When  he  made  a  request  for  the 
'perfect'  listener  to  come,  he  found  to  his  surprise  that  it  was  Meenakshi- 
sundaram Pillai  and  in  choking  voice  declared: 

1  How  lucky  I  am.  Today  I  have  been  greatly  honoured.  Here  is  an  insurmountable 
performer  who  is  equally  a  true  listener. ' 

—  (B.M.  Sundaram) 

Meenakshisundaram  Pillai  had  his  gurukulavasa  with  Needamangalam 
Govinda  Tavilkarar  and  Nagapattinam  Venugopala  Pillai.  Made  his  debut  as 
second  to  Mannargudi  Narayanaswami  Nagaswarakarar  in  his  twelfth  year. 
Quite  strangely,  he  died  in  the  midst  of  a  huge  gathering  of  well-wishers,  relatives 
and  admirers  who  had  gathered  for  the  marriage  of  his  son.  A  good  singer,  he 
kept  a  very  accurate  diary  and  used  only  pure  khadi. 


Yes.  The  prayer  is  made  by  the  love-lorn  lady  to  Senni  Ilavalavan,  the  Chola 
ruler  'with  the  flower  garland  on'.  Why?  The  melody  that  spreads  from  the  flute  of 
the  cowherd  irritates  and  embitters  her  in  her  soliloquy  !  'He  may  be  a  good  ruler. 
What  if  ?  He  is  not  silencing  the  flute*,  she  laments  ! 

—  'Muttollayiram*  -  Cited  by  Mee.Pa.  Somu  in  Kalki  D.M.  19§6. 


-  VIOLINIST/VOCALIST:  (b.October  30,1965) 

Daughter  and  disciple  of  Radha  Narayanan,  Meera  Narayanan  had  further 
aining  under  Prof.  T.N.  Krishnan  with  a  Government  of  India  scholarship.  She 
as  been  giving  violin  accompaniment  from  the  age  of  nine  and  gives  solo 
oncerts  also.  She  is  a  vocalist  having  undergone  training  under 
).K.  Jayaraman.  A  graduate,  she  has  received  awards  from  institutions  and 

She  made  a  unique  marathon  violin  recital  for  26  hours  non-stop  at 
in  Ratnagirsswaraswami  temple,  Besant  Nagar,  Madras  in  October  1 986  setting 
i  record  then.  Of  course,  this  has  since  been  surpassed  by  Violinist 

L  Kanyakumari  in  1 988  with  a  record  performance  of  29  hours. 

Title:  Naanisai  Vallabhi  from  Baktha  Mandali,  Ratnagiriswaraswami  temple 
on  September  4,  1982. 

*     *     * 
-  VOCALIST:  (b.Sept.149  1938) 

Parents  :      V.R.  Viramani  &  Revathi  Viramani 

A  graduate  in  music  of  Madras  University,  Meera  Seshadri  learnt  music  and 
iancing  from  her  mother,  a  good  singer  and  dancer.  She  had  her  training  in 
Sarnatic  Classical  music  under  the  musical  twins,  B.V.  Raman  and 
3.V.  Lakshmanan  and  in  Hindustani  Classical  music  under  LR.  Kelkar,  a 
Jisciple  of  Vinayak  Rao  Patwardhan.  She  learnt  padams  and  javalis  from 
F.  Jayammal. 

Meera  Seshadri  had  been  performing  for  over  twenty-five  years  on  the  AH 
India  Radio  and  elsewhere.  Has  been  giving  vocal  support  to  bharatanatyam, 
kuchspudi  and  odissi  dancers.  She  taught  Carnatic  vocal  at  Triveni  Kala 
Sangham  to  many  including  foreign  students. 

Concert  tours:  •  U.K.  and  African  countries. 

T.  MUKTH A  -  VOCALIST  :  (b A  91 4) 

Muktha  hails  from  a  musical  family  of  stalwarts  with  Veena  Dhanammal  at 
its  head.  Daughter  of  Kamakshi,  the  last  of  the  four  daughters  of  that  renowned 
vainika,  Muktha  had  her  preliminary  lessons  from  her  mother  and  then 
accompanied  her  elder  sister  T.  Brinda  for  training  under  the  celebrated  Naina 
Pillai  of  Kanchipuram  when  they  were  seven  and  nine  years  old  respectively. 
While  Brinda  had  her  tuitions  directly  under  the  maestro,  Muktha  had  the 


benefit  of  listening  to  his  lessons  and  concerts.  The  training  lasted  for  six  years, 
The  sisters  had  started  giving  concerts  even  while  undergoing  training.  For 
nearly  six  decades  they  had  given  concerts  together  -  an  impressive  record. 
The  long  partnership  came  to  an  end  only  a  decade  back  when  Vegavauhini, 
named  after  the  janya  raga  of  Chakravakam,  started  accompanying  her  mother, 
Brinda  as  voice  support. 

Disciples  :       R.  Vedavalli,  Nirmaia  Sundararajan  and  Nirmala 

Parthasarathi  (veena). 

Honours  :      Sang  ita  Nataka  Akademy  Award  1 972. 

Certificate  of  Merit  from  Music  Academy,  Madras  1984. 

Kanchi  Kamakoti  Peetha  Sangeeta  Seva  Trust  honours 


Semmangudi  Dr.  Srinivasa  Ayyar  Trust  and  Maharajapuram  Viswanatha 
Ayyar  Trust  have  also  honoured  her. 

Concert  tour  :       USA  1990. 

*      *      * 


A  ruler  hailing  from  Bijjavara  -  Madhugiri  in  Tumkur  district  and  a  feudatory 
of  Vijayanagar  Kings,  Mummadi  Chikka  Bhupala  is  stated  to  be  a  contemporary 
of  Venkatamakhin,  author  of  Chaturdandi  Prakasika.  He  has  authored  the  work 
Abhinava  Bharatasara  Sangraha,  a  treatise  on  musical  theory.  'A  merited 
compilation,  it  gives  a  systematic  synthesis  of  the  cultural  history  of  South  India 
in  general  terms  and  the  musical  history  in  particular.  Has  drawn  inspiration 
from  Sangita  Ratnakara  and  other  authorities  like  Dattila,  Kohala,  Matanga, 
Rama  Maty  a,  Sangita  Sara  and  Sakala  Maha  Sangraha.  The  work  has  been 
republished  by  Sri  Varalakshmi  Academies  of  Fine  Arts,  Mysore  with  Prof. 
R.  Sathyanarayana  as  Editor. 


Born  of  Ramiah  and  Seethamma, 

at  Denkanikotta,  Dharmapuri  district 

Learnt  tavil  under  his  distinguished  maternal  uncle,  Venkataramanappaand 
has  been  a  distinguished  tavil  artiste  who  had  accompanied  not  only 
nagaswaram  vidwans  like  Karukurichi  Arunachalam  and  Namagiripettai 
Krishnan  but  also  Flautist  TR.  Mahalingam,  Sitar  maestro  Pandit  Ravishanker 
and  the  Shenai  maestro  Bismillah  Khan.  It  is  an  unique  record  and  achievement 
indeed  and  speaks  volumes  about  the  wide  spectrum  of  variations,  percussive 
tonal  adjustments  and  styles  he  is  able  to  develop.  Had  won  the  acclaim  of 


artistes  and  music-lovers.  Has  been  a  member  of  the  Karnataka  State  Sangita 
Nataka  Academy  and  has  won  many  honours  including  'Kalaimamani'  from  the 
Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram  in  1979. 

Concert  tours  :       U.K.,  France,  Germany,  Singapore,  Malaysia 

and  Sri  Lanka. 

C.S.  MURUGABHUPATHY-  MRIDANGAM  ARTISTE:  (b.  February  16,1914) 

Father  and  guru  :  Chitsabhai  Servai  of  Ramanathapuram 

Brother  and  guru  :  Sankara  Sivam  of  Ramanathapuram 

Murugabhupathy  had  training  under  his  grandfather  too.  The  first  important 
concert  for  him  (almost  debut)  was  at  Tiruchendur  when  he  played  for  Chembai 
Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar  as  the  nominated  percussionist  failed  to  turn  up.  The 
maestro  had  to  take  the  young  boy  but  as  usual  with  him  brought  out  of  him  the 
best  play  to  the  satisfaction  of  all.  Murugabhupathy  is  ever  grateful  to  him.  He 
has  been  providing  accompaniment  to  top  musicians  and  was  a  favourite  of 
flautist  T.R.  Mahalingam.  Rich  with  age,  he  is  in  good  style  still.  At  the  concert 
at  Shanmukhananda  Sabha,  Bombay,  as  the  drone  was  not  sruti-aligned, 
Madurai  Mani  Ayyar  relied  on  the  sruti  of  his  mridangam,  states  Murugabhupathy 
with  pride. 

Posts  held: 

Visiting  Principal,  Tamil  Isai  Sangham  Music  School,  Madurai 
Member,  Advisory  Committee,  Government  Music  College,  Madras. 
Member,  Fine  Arts  Faculty,  Annamalai  University,  Chidambaram, 
Member,  Experts  Committee,  Music  Academy,  Madras. 
Member,  All  India  Radio  Panel  for  Music. 

Titles  &  Honours  : 

Sivaganga  Palace  Asthana  Vidwan  1 949 

Kalaimarnani  by  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram  1 969 

Merit  Certificate  from  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  1 973 

Padma  Sri  from  President  of  India  1 973 

Madhura  Kala  Praveena  by  Sadguru  Sangita  Samajam,  Madurai  1 974 

Sangit  Natak  Akademy  Award  1 975 

Sur  Sagar  Award  -  Bombay  1 976 

State  Artiste,  Tamil  Nadu  Government  1 979 

Isai  Perarignar  by  Tamil  Isai  Sangham,  Madras  1 979 

Palghat  Mani  Ayyar  Award  1 985 

Sangita  Kala  Nipuna  by  Fine  Arts  Club,  Madras  1 991 

Concert  tours:  Sri  Lanka  1948  and  1951 


-  BHAGAVATA:  (b.  1918) 

Place  of  birth  :      Coimbatore 

Parents  ;       C.G,  Sundaram  Ayyar  &  AiameSu  Annma! 

Musical  background       ;      Grandfather  Ariyur  Gopalakrishna  Bhagavatar  was  a 

bhajan  specialist.  Uncle  Radhakrishna  Bhagavatar  was 
a  musical  discourses 

Balasubramaniam,  now  known  as  Pithukuli  Murugadas,  had  studied  uptothe 
eighth  standard.  M urugadas  is  the  name  assumed  by  him  and  Pithukuii,  meaning 

a  madcap,  was  an  acquisition  subsequent  to  an  unintended  episode  with  a 
sanyasi,  who  called  him  'Pithukuli'.  yurygadas  left  his  parental  house  on  a 
-pftgrtnrage  with  nothing  but  his  ardent  desire  for  spiritual  pursuits.  In  1938  he 
joined  the  Anandashramam  at  Tanjankadu  near  Mangalore.  His  subsequent 

peregrinations  in  his  familiar  dress  comprising  a  four-cubit  dhoti,  jibba  and  a 
cloth-cover  on  his  head,  al!  in  khadt,  took  him  to  different  places.  He  had 
undergone 'imprisonment  for  participating  in  a  struggle  for  a  public  cause  in 


Murugadas  has  an  appealing  voice  and  mode  of  rendition.  His  inseparable 
harmonium  serves  him  well  and  with  a  tinge  of  the  bhajan  styles  of  Maharashtra 
and  other  places,  his  music  has  a  strong  mass  base.  With  his  knowledge  of 

different  languages,  he  is  able  to  bring  out  the  bhava-rasa  of  the  different 

compositions.  He  has  given  thousands  of  bhajan  concerts  at  most  of  the  places 
of  India,  All  India  Radio  and  television.  He  plays  on  harmonium  while  singing. 
He  is  one  of  the  few  bhajan  artistes  out  of  a  large  tribe  who  continue  devotional 

Concert  Tours:  South  Africa,  Sri  Lanka,  Europe,  UK,  Singapore, 


Disc  Recordings: 

Publications:  Devi  pugazh  &  Guhanjaii  containing  his  own 


Honours  &  Titles:  Sangita  Samrat  by  Sri  Sivananda  Saraswati  of  Rishikesh 

Kalaimamani  by  the  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka 


Devi  Saroja,  his  wife  and  her  sisters  are  disciples  of  his. 

VARAHUR  MUTHUSWAM1  AYYAR  -  VIOLINIST:  (b.  Septr.  1902) 

Place  of  birth  :      Kandamangalam,  Tanjore  district. 

Parents  :      Sami  Bhagavatar  &  Janaki  Ammal 

Musical  training  under    :      His  father  and  under  Sangita  Kalanidhi  Chinnaswarny 



Post  held  :      Assistant  Professor,  Central  College  of  Carnatic  Music, 


Honours  :      Certifiate  of  Merit  from  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  in 


Muthuswamy  Ayyar  was  giving  violin  accompaniment  at  concerts. 


'  The  Dikshltar  family  adhered  to  the  sampradaya  of  Venkatamakhin.  The 
success  was  only  partial.  Present  day  musicians  praise  the  system  but  few 
persons  would  have  glanced  inside  the  book...  If  the  Chaturdan di  Prakasika 
had  been  published  a  century  earlier,  the  course  of  the  present  music  would 
have  been  entirely  different' 

—  Dr.  T.S.  Ramakrishnan. 

"Venkatamakhin  (c.  1635/1660),  second  son  of  Govinda  Dikshitar  of  Tanjore 
authored  me.  Description  of  seventy-two  scales,  their  corresponding  raganga  ragas  and 
upaganga  and  bhashanga  janya  ragas  are  given.  Lakshana  and  lakshya  gitas,  tanas  and 
prabhandas  are  provided  to  illustrate  the  karta  ragas. 

In  1646,  the  Nawab  of  Golkonda  invaded  and  the  Nayak  ruler  of  Tanjore  had  to  flee. 
In  1673,  he  was  killed  in  a  battle  and  there  was  consequent  political  anarchy  in  the 

Tanjore  area.  To  ensure  my  safety,  like  Panna  Dai,  the  loyal  nurse  secreting  Udai  Singh, 
the  infant  son  of  Rana  Sangha  of  Chitor  in  Rajasthan,  I  was  taken  into  secret  custody 

Venkata  Vaidyanatha  Dikshitar  of  Tiruvidaimarudur  and 
Govinda  Dikshita,  both  descendants  of  Venkatamakhin  and 
the  Sankaracharya  of  the  Kanchi  Komakoti  Peetam  at  Kumbakonam. 

When  I  was  under  such  anonymity,  there  was  a  development  which  affected  much 
my  future  though  not  my  life  which  was  safe  inside  an  incubator!  Govindacharya  of 
Kakavattaram  brought  out  his  'Sangita  Sastra  Samkshepa*  or  'Sangita  Chudamani9 
inspired  by  Akhalanka  and  published  it  with  the  help  of  the  Tanjore  Palace.  Seventy -two 
melakarta  ragas  were  named  in  accordance  with  the  'Kangipriya*  nomenclature. 
Raganga  ragas  of  Venkatamakhin  and  their  janyas  came  to  be  treated  janyas  of  the 
melakarta  ragas.  This  received  wide  currency  in  the  Tanjore  belt  and  Tyagaraja  is  stated 
to  have  had  a  copy  of  it  and  used  it  in  his  compositions.  Lavani  Venkata  Rao  composed 
the  'Bahattara  Melakarta  Malika9  in  accordance  with  it  and  published  it.  Chandragiri 
Rangacharlu  composed  three  hundred  lakshana  gitas  -  one  for  each  of  the  ragas 
enumerated  by  Govindacharya.  Tachur  Singaracharyulu  Brothers  fully  publicised  the 
Akalanka  tradition  without  acknowledgement  towards  the  close  of  the  last  century  or 
the  beginning  of  the  present. 


I  would  have  remained  still-bora  or  left  in  the  forgotten  incubator  but  fo 

Ramaswami  Dikshitar  (1735-1817)  receiving  me  from  Muddu  Venkata  Vaidyanath 
Dikshitar  during  the  chance  meeting  at  Manali.  Muthuswami  Dikshitar  (1776-1835)  am 
later  Subbarama  Dikshitar  (1839-1906)  tried  their  best  to  repair  the  wrong  features  tha 
had  crept  into  the  system  during  my  'affectionate  incarceration". 

The  Akhalanka  -  Govindacharya  system  known  as  the  Kanakangi-RatnangiSysien 

had  taken  roots  and  is  predominantly  in  use  now. 


*Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar  represented  the  Odyssian  type  devoting  greatei 
time  to  raga  elaboration.  He  used  to  venture  boldly  in  the  realm  of  fancy  in  developing 
a  raga  revealing  fresh  vistas  of  beauty  to  the  delight  of  all  and  give  new  dimensions.' 

Vaiitfka's  Merit 

'Invariably  a  soloist,  Dhanammal  plays  and  sings  all  alone  with  not  even  a 
mridangam  for  accompaniment.  Only  a  sort  of  drone  is  kept  on  by  the  marvellous 
dexterity  of  her  frail  little  finger  that  rubs  the  Pakkasaranis,  a  feature  that  stands  in 
marked  contrast  to  the  loud,  regular,  intruding  ding-dong  of  all  other  vainikas  that 
resembles  the  chiming  of  Big-Ben  in  London/ 

—  R.  Rangaramanuja  Ayyangar. 


Bidaram  Krishnappa,  Actor  Lakshmipati  Sastri,  Kundoor  Srikantiah,  Tabla 
Surpandit  and  Mysore  Vasudevacharya  used  to  play  a  game  of  cards  called  KattheAta 
(Donkey  game)  .  Fortunately  the  loser  need  not  ride  a  donkey  in  the  streets  but  should 
put  on  a  uniform,  hold  up  a  rifle  and  give  a  military  salute  to  the  winner.  Krishnappa 
lost  the  game  and  was  about  to  take  on  the  costume  when  a  real  sepoy  entered  and  said 
that  the  Maharajah  called  him.  Helplessly,  the  vocalist  put  on  the  uniform  and  holding 
a  rifle  gave  the  salute  -  all  the  time  looking  at  the  sepoy  with  a  sense  of  embarrassment 
and  shame.  The  sepoy  enjoyed  the  maestro  saluting  him!  A  strange  play. 




Eldest  son  of  S.  Mahadevappa,  a  violinist,  Nagaraj  was  musically  talented 
even  as  a  boy  and  made  his  appearance  on  the  stage  at  the  age  of  eleven.  Sine* 
then  his  rise  to  artistic  heights  has  been  phenomenal.  Has  a  charming  style  and 
is  giving  accompaniment  to  prominent  artistes  and  giving  solo  concerts  also.  A 
popular  violinist,  he  is  Staff  Artiste  of  the  All  India  Radio,  Mysore. 

Concert  Tours:  U.S.A.,  Canada. 


Disciple  of  Govindaraja  Bhagavatar,  Nagaraja  Bhagavatar  was  noted  for 
sruti  suddham,  lively  exposition  and  polished  handling  of  themes  for  harikathas. 
He  followed  the  style  of  Tanjore  Krishna  Bhagavatar.  He  was  popular  in  Tanjore 

*     *     * 

V.  NAGARAJAN  -  KANJIRA  ARTISTE:  (b.  July  30, 1930) 

Son  of  the  famous  violin  vidwan  of  yester  decades  Sangeetha  Kalanidhi 
Papa  K.S.  Venkataramiah,  V.  Nagarajan  had  his  training  under  two  celebrated 
percussionists,  viz.,  Tanjore  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  and  Palghat  Mam  Ayyar,  the 
later  being  the  first  percussioninst  to  be  honoured  with  the  title  of  Sangita 
Kalanidhi.  Nagarajan  made  his  debut  in  1950  at  Tiruchirappalli  accompanying 
Alathur  Brothers.  Since  then  he  has  given  percussive  support  to  all  artistes  of 
repute.  Kanjira  was  prominent  a  decade  or  two  back.  Now  ghatam  has  usurped 
its  place  since  the  number  of  ghatam  artistes  te  on  the  arohana  and  kanjira 
artistes  are  on  avarohana. 

He  joined  the  Faculty  of  the  Wesleyan  University  as  a  Visiting  Professor  in 
1967  and  taught  at  Berkely,  California  in  1974.  He  has  trained  a  number  of 
American  Fulbright  scholars. 

Honour  :      Asthana  Vidwan,  Sri  Sankaracharya  Mutt,  Kanchipuram 

Disc  recordings  : 

Concert  tours  :      Sri  Lanka,  Malaysia,  Singapore,  USA,  UK,  USSR, 

Canada,  etc. 


K.  RAO  -  FLAUTIST;  (b.190 

A  nephew  and  disciple  of  the  celebrated  flautist  Pailadam  Sanjeeva  Rs 
Nagaraja  Rao  was  a  popular  flautist.  His  rendition  sweet,  melodious  ai 
traditional.  He  stayed  at  Mysore.  He  invitations  from  abroad  but  did  r 
choose  to  go. 

*          it         * 

'R.  RAO  -  FLAUTIST:  (July  1883 : 

Bom  :      at  NachiarkosI  near  Kumbakonam, 

of  Ramanatha  Rao,  landlord  and  violinist. 

General  education         :      Matriculation  at  Pudukottai. 

Training  in  music  ;      Preliminary  lessons  in  flute  from  Kannuswami  Rao, 

brother  of  Swaragat  Chittuswami  Rao. 

Nagaraja  Rao  did  not  take  to  his  scholastic  studies  kindly  and  came  upf 
admonition  from  his  uncle  and  guardian,  R.  Ramachandra  Rao.  Was  faced  wi 
the  dilemma  of  abandoning  music  or  deserting  his  uncie.  Owing  to  his  stubbo 
leanings  to  music,  he  left  his  uncle  and  took  up  tuitions  to  maintain  himself.  Lat 
became  the  village  munsif  of  Nachiarkoil  noted  for  its  brassware,  temple  ar 
cultural  background.  In  1902,  the  flute  maestro  Sarabha  Sastri  tested  him  at 
found  him  well  advanced  in  his  art.  However,  Nagaraja  Rao  was  not  destine 
to  have  training  under  him  as  Sarabha  soon  lost  health  and  later  died  in  190 
This  led  Nagaraja  Rao  to  the  eminent  vocalist,  Umayalpuram  SwaminathaAyy 
and  he  had  training  under  him  for  two  years. 

Rao  was  noted  for  his  raga  alapanas,  fast  rendition  and  modulated  ton 
felicity.  A  kindly,  soft  artiste,  he  had  helped  many  young  artistes  to  come  up, 

*     *     * 
NAGASWAM1  BHAGAVATAR  -  VOCALIST:  (1894  - 1952) 

A  Well  known  vocalist.  A  sourashtra,  he  was  based  in  Madurai.  H 
specialised  in  the  songs  of  Tyagarajah  and  Wallajahpet  Venkataramar 

Bhagavatar.    Nagaswami  Bhagavatar  founded  Sri  Sadguru  Sangita  Samajar 
Madurai  in  1911,  which  is  a  flourishing  premier  institution. 


(Now,  3S 1878  -  May  19, 195; 

The  great  lady  of  Bangalore  belonged  to  the  fragrant  period  which  saw 
galaxy  of  illustrious  women  musicians  like  Veena  Dhanammal,  Sale 
Meenakshi,  Enadhi  Lakshmi  Narayani  Sisters,  Coimbatore  Thayee,  Bangaloi 


Thayee,  Tiruvarur  Rajayee  and  Kolar  Nagarathinam.  The  trio  MSSS  DKP,  MLV 
joined  them  later.  But  Bangalore  Nagarathinammal  was  altogether  of  a 
different  type  in  that  she  was  able  to  look  beyond  herself  and  music  rendition 
and  focus  her  attention  on  the  source  of  such  resplendent  music.  Her 
sublimated  soul  envisioned  the  Cauvery  and  its  music  -  soaked  cultured 
not  only  at  Tiruvasyaru  but  at  the  distant  Mercara  where  lies  its  source.  Others 
came,  sang  and  left.  But  her  genius  perceived  something  greater,  enduring 
substantial.  She  enjoys  the  unique  distinction  of  having  surrendered  her  all  to 
the  service  of  the  Great  Bard  of  Tiruvaiyaru,  Tyagarajah.  With  single-minded 
devotion  and  dedication,  she  sold  her  properties,  pooled  her  income  and 
the  support  of  all  to  commence  the  construction  of  the  Samadhi  of  Tyagaralah 
on  the  bank  of  the  Cauvery  on  October  27,  1921  and  perform  the 
Kumbhabishekam  on  January  7,  1925.  She  started  the  annual  celebrations 
(aradhana)  on  a  firm  and  grand  scale.  The  samadhi  lands  were  donated  by  Sri 
Mannapa  Saheb  and  Sri  Rajaram  Mannaji  Surve.  And  she  spent  her  last  years 
there  giving  lessons  on  Tyagarajah  songs  at  the  Tyaga  Brahma  Nilayam',  a 
dedicated  construction  work  in  which  the  eminent  cine  actor,  Chittoor 
V.  Nagayya  played  the  principal  role.  Quite  fittingly,  her  samadhi  is  located 
near  the  samadhi  of  the  Bard.  Another  wish  fulfilled. 

Nagarathinammal  was  an  amalgam  of  sterling  character,  obsessive  and 
noble  dedication  to  good  causes  held  dear  to  her  heart  and  of  dharmic  conduct 
which  combined  in  itself  the  essence  of  the  Ramayana  service  -  oriented 
characters  Sabhari,  Lakshmana,  Vibhishana  and  Hanuman  and  the 
achievements  on  a  mini  scale  of  a  Rajaraja  Chola.  Devoted  to  her  gurus,  she 
performed  guru  poojahs  annually  and  also  Hanumat  Jayanti.  She  was  chosen 
specifically  to  sing  a  Sanskrit  invocation  at  the  All  India  Sanatana  Dharma 
Conference  in  1929.  She  gave  a  large  number  of  concerts  and  the  bulk  of  the 
proceeds  went  for  the  construction  of  the  Tyagarajah  Samadhi  and  the  Mysore 
Choultry  at  Tiruvaiyaru  for  the  benefit  of  Kannadigas. 

Born  at  Mysore,  of  Vakil  Subba  Rao  and  Puttulakshmi,  she  learnt  Sanskrit 
and  music  under  Giripatta  Thimmayyah  and  violin  from  her  uncle  Venkitasami 
Appa  of  Bangalore.  Had  further  training  in  violin  under  Munuswamy  Appa,  a 
disciple  of  Wallajahpet  Krishnaswami  Bhagavatar.  Her  desire  for  knowledge 
was  so  intense  that  she  learnt  bharatanatyam  under  Bangalore  Kittanna  and 
abhinaya  from  Madras  Tiruvenkatachariar.  Her  over-all  vidwat  was  polished  off 
by  Bidaram  Krishnappa.  Puttulakshmi  was  discarded  first  by  Subba  Rao  and 
later  by  Thimmayyah  also.  But  she  bore  her  travails  and  tribulations  and 
brought  up  her  daughter  with  an  iron  will.  There  is  some  resemblance  in  the 
teen-age  sufferings  of  Nagarathinammal  and  K.B.  Sundarambal  but  in  the 
ultimate  analysis,  the  former  is  supreme  in  enduring  attainments.  While 
Sundarambal  hoarded  material  wealth,  Nagarathinammal  too  did  hoard  but  in 
the  more  enduring  spiritual  sphere.  With  multi-sided  accomplishments, 
Nagarathinam  made  her  debut  significantly  at  Veena  Seshanna's  house  in  her 


fifteenth  year.  Palaces  and  institutions  availed  of  her  immense  training  an 
talents  both  in  India  and  in  Sri  Lanka.  It  is  said  that  she  gave  1 235  engagemenl 
between  1905  and  1934,  which  is  equivalent  to  ten  times  that  now. 

She  enjoyed  a  'gambhira'  voice.   Her  infatuation  with  the  songs  and  life  < 
Tyagarajah  was  so  intense  and  sublime  that  she  executed  a  will  on  January 
1 949  setting  apart  her  assets  to  construct  the  Samadhi  and  to  run  a  gurukula 
Tiruvaiyaru  to  propagate  the  Bard's  songs.  There  was  Yaga,  Yoga,  Thyagaar 
Bhoga  with  nadopasana  in  her  life  of  suffering  and  achievement 

Her  only  daughter  died.  Her  attempt  to  adopt  a  girl  failed.  Her  suffering 
while  young  and  these  failures  tended  only  to  harden  her  admiration  1 
Tyagarajah,  the  Prince  of  Renunciation,  and  her  resolve  to  accomplish  ai 
achieve  what  all  others  had  ignored. 

Her  intense  love  of  his  songs  was  matched  only  by  her  passion  1 
Devaranamas  and  to  demonstrate  that  Purandara  songs  could  also  be  su 
likewise  in  such  an  elaborate  and  scholarly  manner,  she  got  up  a  concert 
Bidaram  Krishnappa  at  Madras  to  be  covered  only  by  Devaranamas.  Mysc 
Vasudevacharya  says,  'Ragalapana,  Swarakalpana,  neraval,  everything  w 
there  as  in  a  traditional  concert.  The  audience  felt  delighted.  They  realised 
the  first  time  that  the  Kannadigas  also  have  their  own  individualistic  heritage 

On  her  music,  Vasudevacharya  says: 

'  Her  style  of  singing  was  religiously  classical.  She  had  accurate  layagnana  Her  v< 
combined  the  melodic  sweetness  of  a  female  voice  with  the  dignity  of  a  male  voice. 
she  had  a  sound  knowledge  of  bharatanatya,  her  singing  had  an  emotional  app 
Yadukulakambhoji  was  her  favourite.  She  was  never  afraid  of  any  challenge  from 
musician. ' 

She  rarely  handled  the  kritis  of  Dikshitar  as  she  felt  that  she  would  not  be  a 
to  do  justice  to  them  because  of  her  inadequate  knowledge  of  sansl 
Tyagarajah  and  Purandara  had  won  her  heart  so  fully  that  it  had  no  space 
others  ! 

Here  is  an  assessment  of  her  personality  and  life  by  Vasudevacharya: 

'  A  queen  among  dancers  and  singers,  she  was  an  apostle  of  modesty, 
pride  of  the  Kannada  Land,  she  was  a  selfless  soul  and  had  the  boor 
beauty,  learning  and  wealth  In  equal  proportions.. .her  respectful  demea 
in  the  presence  of  senior  vidwans  attracted  me.  She  stood  as  though  c 
to  offer  worship,  never  even  looked  up.. .spoke  little.. .a  divine  charm  hallc 
her  beauty '. 


Her  publications  include: 


Madhyapanam  in  telugu, 

Sri  Tyagaraja  Ashtothra  Namavali  in  Sanskrit  and 

Panchee  Karana  Bowdheeka  in  tamil. 

Jagarathinammal  reprinted  the  telugu  classic  'Radhika  Swayamvaram'  of 
Auddu  Palani,  a  courtesan  of  the  18th  century.  Police  seized  all  the  copies 
aking  objection  to  its  high  eroticism.  Only  in  1947  the  ban  was  lifted.  There 
afresh  edition  in  1952. 

Titles  and  Honours: 

L     March  6,  1949  -  Tyaga  Seva  Saktha  by  President  of  India. 
II.     Vldya  Sundari  by  Puranam  Suryanarayana  Thirthar 
iii.      1932  -Gana  Kala  Visaradha  by  Kaviraja  Krishnamurti  Sastri. 

vJagarathinammal  needs  no  better  honour  than  the  appreciation  and  gratitude 
3f  the  thousands  who  gather  annually  at  Tiruvaiyaru  for  the  Aradhana.  '  Earn, 
Conserve,  Distribute',  this  is  my  life-mission,  declared  the  Founder  of  the 
^nnamalai  University.  The  application  of  the  principle  to  the  life  of 
Nagarathinammal  reveals  that  she  belongs  to  the  galaxy  of  eminent  women  of 
India.  Literally  she  got  dissolved  in  every  respect  in  nadopasana  ! 

Once,  a  marriage  in  a  Komutti  Chettiar's  house  was  on  when  the  bride's 
ninety-five  year  old  grandmother  was  in  a  critical  condition.  Nagarathinammal 
giving  the  concert  for  the  marriage  took  up  towards  the  end  the  sloka:- 

'Prana  Prayana  Samaye'  (  The  time  of  soul's  journey.) 

The  song  and  the  sentiment  coincided  with  the  real  life-event  on  the 
occasion!  (T.  Sankaran) 


In  yester  decades,  women's  contribution  to  and  role  in  concert  music  were 
limited.  Of  the  few  who  were  prominent,  Kolar  Nagaratnamma  was  one.  Her 
mother  Nanjundasani  was  a  dancer  and  her  brother  Puttuswamiayya  was  a 
violinist.  While  her  name  is  mentioned  prominently,  details  are  not  known. 

DOLAK  NANNU  NIIYA  -  PERCUSSIONIST:  (19th  Century  -  II  Half) 

He  was  a  muslim  artiste  from  Pudukottai  famed  for  his  thrilling  play  on  the 
percussive  instrument  dolak  rarely  used  at  concerts.  It  is  a  tribute  to  his 
astounding  expressive  play  that  he  had  accompanied  such  stalwarts  as  Patnam 
Subramania  Ayyar.  Soolamangalam  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar  pays  tributes  to 


his  innovative  exposition  and  single-minded  efforts  to  make  every  concert  a 
success  irrespective  of  the  grade  of  the  principal  artiste.  He  used  a  jingle  in  his 
right  finger  to  present  exhilarating  tinkling  sounds.  His  percussive  presentation 
was  of  such  excellence  that  even  Tanjore  Narayanaswami  Appa  felt  envious  of 
his  'pare/is'  (a  method  of  play).  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar  says  that  the 
embellishment  'deka'  started  with  him,  that  he  was  a  terror  to  other 
percussionists  and  that  even  Gandharvas  would  be  enchanted  by  his 
eclecticism.  Chote  Miya  gave  him  company  as  vocalist  when  he  was  not 
accompanying  celebrities.  Vide  chapter  on  'Contests  and  Challenges'  in  Part  I 
too  for  Nannu's  adventures. 

NARADA  -  MUSICOLOGIST:  (1st  Century  A.D.) 

The  work  'Naradiyasiksha*  "has  found  a  permanent  place  in  the  history  of 
musicology.  It  deals  with  swara  and  chanda  of  vedic  mantras  in  230  slokas 
narrating  both  the  vedic  and  the  laukika  swaras  and  gives  a  comprehensive  view 
of  ancient  Hindu  music."  Narada  refers  to  the  importance  of  swaras,  the  seven 
swarast  three  gramas,  twenty-one  murcchanas  and  forty-nine  tanas  constituting 
the  swara  mandal.  He  cites  Tumburu,  Vasishtha  and  Biswavasu  as  authorities. 
Both  vocal  and  instrumental  music  are  mentioned.  Definitions  are  given.  Swami 
Prajnananda  mentions  that  microtones  were  perfected  by  Narada  and  he  has 
called  'diptha,  ayata,  karuna,  mridhu  and madhya'  as  'shruthis'. 

A  number  of  treatises  are  ascribed  to  Narada.  There  have  been  a  number 
of  Naradas  like  Narada  of  the  ninth  century  who  authored  Makaranda  meaning 
musical  pollens,  in  which  forty-two  ragas  are  mentioned.  For  the  first  time,  the 
terms  Purusha  -  Stri  ragas  are  cited. 

These  Naradas  are  different  from  the  puranic  musical  sage  and 
trouble-shooter  (vide  page  XLIX  of  A  Garland) . 


(b.  August  12,  1919) 

'  MAN.  represents  the  Karnatak  tradition  in  its  purest  form  and  is  a  veritable  respositor 
of  classical  tradition.  Affable,  soft-  spoken,  he  is  ready  with  answers  to  all  problems  and 
is  an  authority.  '  —  (E.R.Sethuram). 

Place  of  birth  :      Mysore 

Parents  :      MA  Krishnaswamy  lyengar  &  Rajamma. 

Initiated  in  music  by  his  mother,  Narasimhachar  joined  the  then  prestigious 
Music  College  of  the  Annamalai  University,  studied  under  the  stalwarts  Tiger 
Varadachariar,  Ponniah  Pillai,  a  descendant  of  the  Tanjore  Quartette  family, 


Sathur  Krishna  Ayyangar  and  T.K.  Rangachariar  and  got  the  'Sangeetha 
Bhushana'  title  in  1 940,  being  the  first  Mysorean  to  get  it.  He  learnt  veena  from 
K.S.  Narayanaswamy;  and  obtained  a  student  certificate  from  the  Trinity 
College  of  Music,  London  in  Western  music  too  in  1939.  He  is  blessed  with  a 
very  good  voice. 

Started  'Ganakala  Mandira1  in  1942  atJMysore  later  shifted  to  Bangalore  in 
1 972.  Simultaneously  Narasimhachar  started  his  performing  career  in  1 942  and 
made  his  entry  into  the  musical  circles  at  Madras  in  1 945  at  the  elitist  Jagannatha 
Bhakta  Sabha,  Madras.  Ever  since  he  had  given  innumerable  concerts  at 
sabhas,  for  Doordarshan  and  on  the  All  India  Radio,  Jammu  and  Kashmir  in  the 
north  toTrivandrum  in  the  south.  He  popularised  the  rare  compositions  of  Veena 
Kuppiah,  Wallajahpet  Venkataramana  Bhagavatar  and  Anaiayya  besides  many 
musical  operas.  He  has  chaired  many  conferences  and  seminars.  The  senior 
musician  has  enjoyed  a  very  good  concert  demand.  His  knowledge  of  many 
languages  and  the  science  and  art  of  music  enables  a  versatility  rarely  enjoyed 
by  many  artistes.  His  vast  repertoire  provides  scope  for  presentation  of  papers 
on  varied  technical  issues  and  aspects  of  great  value  to  the  music  world. 

Publications  :      Veena  Seshanna  — • 

Tirukkodikaval  Krishna  Ayyar 
Tiger  Varadachariar 
Theory  of  Music 

^     all  in  Kannada. 

Posts  held  :       Lecturer,  Maharani's  College,  Mysore 

Lecturer,  College  of  Dance,  Drama,  Music  and  Fine 
Arts,  Manasa  Gangotri,  Mysore. 
Head  of  the  Department  of  Music,  Acharya  Parasala 

College,  Bangalore. 

Examiner  in  Music  &  Musicology,  Kalakshetra  and 


Special  Lecturer  to  Post-graduate  students  at  the 

Bangalore  University. 

Guru  for  the  third  batch  of  students  1 988-89  in  gurukula 
teaching  for  the  South  Zone  Cultural  Centre,  Tanjore. 

Honours  ;       Sangeetha  Jyoti  by  Swami  Shivananda  of  Rishikesh 

Ganakala  Bhushana  by  Karnataka  Ganakala  Parishat, 

Bangalore  in  1 987. 

Honour  by  Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar  Trust  in 


Concert  tour  :      Sri  Lanka 

Among    his    disciples,    Lakshmi    and    Saraswati,    his    sisters    and 
M.A.  Meera  and  M.A.  Mythili,  his  daughters  give  concerts. 


V.V.  NARASIMHACHAR  -  MUSICOLOGIST:  (  b.  June  8, 1898) 

Narasimhachar  had  his  musical  training  under  D.  Subramanya  Garu,  a 
disciple  of  Tachur  Singaracharyulu.  He  had  made  a  detailed  study  of  Sanskrit 
works  on  music.  Was  connected  with  the  Madras  Music  Academy  since  its 
inception  and  had  contributed  much  to  the  high-level  deliberations  of  the  Experts 
Committee  of  the  Academy.  He  organised  the  Saraswati  Gana  Sabha,  Kakinada 
and  published  a  book  on  22  srutis,  talas,  pallavi  and  biographies.  He  brought 
out  the  telugu  version  of  Divya  Prabhandam  and  the  book  'Evolution  of  Carnatic 

He  was  honoured  by  the  Telugu  Basha  Samiti  and  by  the  Music  Academy, 
Madras  with  a  Certificate  of  Merit  in  1973. 


(b.  July  15,  1943) 

Son  of  the  legendary  gottuvadyam  maestro  K.S.  Narayana  lyengar  and 
Jayalakshmi,  Narasimhan  is  a  vocalist  and  chitra  veena  artiste  presently  working 
in  the  Vadya  Vrinda  ensemble  of  the  All  India  Radio,  Madras.  Narasimhan  is  a 
silent  professional,  unostentatious  but  a  devoted  artiste  who  delights  in 
preparing,  moulding  child  prodigies,  his  son  Ravi  Kiran  being  the  earliest  in  1 969, 
(Vide  his  biography  elsewhere  in  this  book.)  Sashikiran,  Kiranavali  and 
Sudarshan  (Ganesh)  are  among  his  special  products. 

Central  Sangeet  Natak  Academy  awarded  Senior  Fellowship  to  him  in 

M.  NARAYANASWAM1  AYYAR  -  MRIDANGIST:  (b.  Septr.  30,  1919) 

Place  of  birth  :    Kumbakonam 

Parentage  :    Muthuswami  Ayyar  (Mridangist)  &  Seethalakshmi 


Father  was  a  disciple  of  the  renowned  Azhaganambi  PiHai  and  Flute  maestro 
Sarabha  Sastri  was -his  sister's  husband.  The  musical  background  enabled 
young  Narayanaswami  to  aspire  for  a  place  in  the  field  of  music  and  his  father 
chose  percussion  as  his  field  of  specialisation  because  of  his  own  expertise  in 
it.  Narayanaswami  had  his  training  in  mridangam  successively  with  his  father, 
Umayalpuram  Kothandarama  Ayyar.  Azhaganambi  Pillai,  Rangu  Ayyangar  and 
Rangaswami  Ayyangar.  The  varied  training  under  celebrated  percussionists 
equipped  him  with  deep  insight  into  the  finer  nuances  of  percussion.  In  1936  he 
made  his  debut  at  Kumbakonam  with  Veppathur  Balasubramania  Ayyar, 


Vocalist,  Vedaranyam  Krishnamurti  on  violin  and  Ayyaru  Pillai  on  kanjira.  'With 
diffidence  I  started  with  my  body  profusely  perspiring  but  slowly  picked  up  with 
encouragement  and  it  ended  well.'  The  elders  had  strangely  withheld  the  fact  of 
his  making  the  debut  till  he  was  asked  to  take  his  seat  with  the  mridangam! 

Narayanaswami  Ayyar  recalls  the  demonstration  of  Per/a  Morahs'  of  35 
talas,  etc.,  at  the  Music  Academy  on  December  23,  1963  at  the  instance  of 
Mudicondan  Venkatarama  Ayyar.  He  has  been  the  recipient  of  many  gold  and 
silver  medals  and  the  titles  of  — 

Mridanga  Jyoti  from  Adyar  Arogya  Ashram  and 

Laya  Marthanda  Mridanga  Jyoti       from  the  Manipal  Sabha,  Udipi  in  1981. 

Narayanaswami  Ayyar  has  been  conducting  Tygaraja  Aradhanafor  the  last 
forty-five  years  with  the  picture  of  the  Saint-Composer  handed  over  to  him  by 
his  sister  and  wife  of  Sarabha.  Earlier  he  was  Secretary  to  the  'Chinna  Katchi' 
(Small  Party)  presided  over  by  Sanjiva  Rao  which  conducted  the  Aradhanafor 
a  long  time  separately;  the  'Peria  Katchi'  (Bigger  Party)  had  Azhaganambi  Pillai 
as  Secretary.  Ayyar  has  accompanied  most  of  the  tall  stalwarts  of  Carnatic 


(20th  Century  early  part) 

A  prominent  vidwan  well-versed  in  theory,  Narayanaswami  Ayyar  was  a 
respected  vocalist.  Unfortunately  his  voice  did  not  match  and  respond  to  his 
immense  musical  acumen  like  Ettayapuram  Ramachandra  Ayyar  and 
Papanasam  Sivan.  His  high  position  would  be  clear  from  the  fact  that  he  gave 
the  concert  with  Tirukodikaval  Krishna  Ayyar  on  violin  and  Palani  Krishnier  on 
ghatam  for  the  'seemantam'  of  the  illustrious  flautist  Sarabha  Sastri  at 
Kumbakonam.  Soolamangajam  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar  has  high  respect  for 


Father  :    Lakkavalli  (Chickmagalur)  Chamanna. 

Learnt  music  under  :    Krishnappa,  an  accompanist  to  Chintlapalli 


General  Education  :    S.S.LC. 

Bhagavatar  went  over  to  Madras  and  had  his  advanced  music  training  with 
Pallavi  Narasimha  Ayyangar  and  at  Kanchipuram  with  Naina  Pillai.  In  1938,  he 
started  giving  concerts  and  was  providing  accompaniment  to  important 


musicians.  He  was  a  violinist  of  immense  capabilities,  style  and  knowledge. 
'Apara  Pandithya*  is  the  word  used  by  Dr.  Sampathkumaracharya  in  respect  of 
him.  H.V.  Krishnamurti  is  one  on  whom  he  bestowed  not  only  his  vidwat  but  also 
his  daughter.  There  are  similar  cases  where  the  guru  takes  one  of  his  intelligent 
disciples  as  a  son-in-law.  He  had  tuned  the  songs  of  D.V.Gundappa  and  has 
composed  songs  taking  select  passages  from  the  Ramayana.  In  1953,  he 
started  the  Vijaya  Music  College  at  Bangalore. 

AJC.C.  NATARAJAN  -  CLARIONET  ARTISTE:  (b.  May  30, 1931) 

Place  of  birth  :      Tiruchirapalli 

Parentage  :      A.K.Chinnakrishnan,  clarionet  artiste  and  Rukmani 


Learnt  music  from          :      Alathur  Venkatesa  Ayyar  of  the  celebrated 

Alathur  Brothers. 

Nagaswaram  from      :      Illuppur  Natesa  Pillai  and 
Clarionet  from  :      A.K.  Chinnakrishnan  (father) 

Natarajan  made  his  debut  in  1946,  became  a  staff  artiste  with  the  All  India 
Radio,  Calicut  for  six  months  in  1 949  and  later  at  New  Delhi  during  1 950-52.  He 
resigned  his  job  to  avail  of  the  heavy  demand  for  his  performances  nearer  home. 
The  first  concert  worthy  of  memory  was  at  the  then  famous  Jagannatha  Bhakta 
Sabha,  Madras  and  soon  his  prestige  rose  high.  With  his  training  in  nagaswaram 
and  clarionet  and  music  from  a  celebrated  vidwan,  he  was  the  one  artiste  who 
was  competent  to  give  classical  exposition  on  the  nonpliable  clarionet  with 
capability  and  merit.  As  is  well  known,  few  had  prospered  as  clarionet  vidwans 
save  perhaps  Abbayi  and  one  or  two  others.  Natarajan  is  able  to  develop  and 
project  continuity  and  bring  out  shades  of  raga  swaroopas  and  swaras  with 
maximum  felicity  possible  on  the  instrument.  He  is  very  popular  and  his 
concerts  are  well  attended. 

Titles  and  Honours: 

Quite  at  the  start  of  his  career  in  1 952,  he  was  placed  on  top  of  the  highest  peak  of 
the  clarionet  Himalayas  by  the  Nagaswara  maestro  T.N.  Rajarathinam  Piilai  by  con- 
ferring on  him  the  title  of  'Clarionet  Everest1  at  Nagapattinam. 

Clarionet  Samrat  by  Sivananda  Saraswati,  Rishikesh  1 958 
Presentation  of  Gold  Clarionet  at  Kannika  Parameshwari  Temple, 

Tiruchirapalli,  which  he  presented  to  the  Defence  Fund  1 958 

Clarionet  Chakravarti  by  the  Maharaja  of  Mysore  1 969 

Isai  Perarignar  by  Tamil  Isai  Sangham,  Madras  1 988 

Madura  Kala  Praveena  by  Sadguru  Sangeetha  Samajam,  Madurai  1989 

Sangita  Sagara  by  Visakha  Music  Academy,  Visakhapattinam  1 990 
Asthana  Vidwan,  Dharmapuram,  Tiruvaduthurai  and  Kanchi  Kamakoti  Maths. 

Honoured  by  the  Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar  Trust  1 991 


A.K.C.  Natarajan  is  an  eloquent  exponent  of  Carnatic  music  on  clarionet 
after  clarionet  Abbayi,  with  few  competitors  for  over  four  decades. 


NAGASWARAM  ARTISTE:  (Deer.  1 5,  1 869  -  d.  -  ) 

Natarajasundaram  Pillai  hailed  from  a  family  of  nagaswara  artistes  and 
hymnodists  tracing  their  ancestry  to  Sesha  Pillai  of  Kalyanasholapuram,  a 
sarndha  player  and  hymnodist.  His  son  Kulandaivel  Pillai  was  a  veena  player 
and  his  son  Swaminatha  Pillai  (1840  -  )  was  a  disciple  of  Koorainadu 
Ramaswami  Pillai  and  was  taken  to  Tiruvizhimalalai  by  the  Mutt-head  of 
TiruvaduthuraL  Natarajasundaram  Pillai,  his  son  along  with  his  brother  Siva- 
subramania  Pillai  had  his  training  under  Umayalpuram  Doraiswami  Ayyar  and 
Sathanur  Panchanadha  Ayyar,  two  prominent  musicians  of  the  day.  The  advent 
and  practice  of  duo  nagaswaram  play  are  attributed  to  Sivasubramaniam. 
Hitherto,  it  was  totally  raga  alapana,  pallavi  and  ragamalika  rendition  by 
nagaswaram  artistes.  If  raga  was  developed  to  pristine  heights,  credit  goes  to 
them,  They  would  start  at  8  or  9  or  10  p.m.  and  end  only  with  the  dawn. 
Enchanting  rendition  based  on  melody  and  vicranti  would  flow  in  the  still  hours 
of  the  night  for  the  music-lover  and  the  Gods  to  regale  themselves  with.  Mostly 
the  nagaswara  artistes  stood  standing  or  walking  pouring  out  '  the  nectar  of 
Nada,  which  is  the  basis  of  all  Vedas,  Puranas,  Agamas  and  Sastras  '  (  Nada 
Sudharasambilanu  -  Arabhi  raga  of  Tyagarajah  ).  The  Tiruppamburam 
Brothers,  for  the  first  time,  introduced  quite  a  number  of  Dikshitar  kritis  in  their 
play.  Thus  they  were  trail-blazers. 

Poochi  Srinivasa  Ayyangar,  Sarabha  Sastri,  Ramnad  Rajah  and 
Chunambedu  Zamindar  were  special  patrons  and  admirers.  Swamioatha  Pillai, 
the  eminent  flautist  and  Somasundaram,  nagaswara  teacher,  were  his  sons.  The 
brothers  were  known  for  perfect  sruti,  total  alignment  and  captivating  rendition. 


(19th  Century  II  Half) 

A  pioneer  in  forming  a  musically-talented  dramatic  troupe  on  the  lines  of  the 
marathi  stage,  himself  composing  fine  nirupanams  (explanatory  songs)  in 
different  languages,  Natesa  Dikshitar  was  a  fine  composer.  His  father  Tyagaraja 
Dikshitar  was  also  a  fine  composer.  Natesa  Dikshitar  was  a  court  physician.  H® 
started  the  'Jagan  Mohana  Chit  Vilasa  Sabha'  for  presenting  concerts  and 
dramas  and  got  round  a  galaxy  of  talented  artistes  li-ke 


Raja-part  Koneri  Rao  (for  hero's  role) 

Stri-part  Kalyanarama  Ayyar  (for  heroine's  role)  and 

Rakshasa-part  Ramaswami  Ayyar  (for  villain  or  demon  roles). 

Dikshitar  was  a  popular  vidwan  of  merit  and  Sarabha  Sastri,  the    erninen 
once   gave   violin   support   for   his    concert    at   the    residence    01 

Soolamangalam  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar. 

*     *     * 
P.I.  NATESA  PILLAI  -  PERCUSSIONIST:  (fc>.  1 899) 

Parents  :  Ayyaswami  Pillai  and  Lakshmi  Ammai 

Training  in 

Nagaswaram  under  :  Kuppuswaml  Piilai. 

He  had  accompanied  eminent  nagaswara  vidwans  and  was  honoured  with 
a  gold  medal  by  Musiri  Subramania  Ayyar  and  the  title  of  'Kalaimamani1  in  1973 
by  the  Tamil  Nadu  Sangeetha  Nataka  Sangham,  Madras. 


Acolossal  work  of  eternal  benediction  to  devotees  was  achieved  by  Sriman 
Nathamuni  by  collecting  four  thousand  verses  called  'Divya  Prabandh&rn  *  and 
setting  them  to  music.  A  native  of  Kattumannarkoil  near  Chidambaram,  he 
happened  to  hear  some  hymns  once  and  captivated  by  them,  went  round  to  the 
birth  places  of  Nammalwar,  etc.,  and  collected  them.  T.S.  Parthasarathy  says 
that  Nathamuni  did  for  Divya  Prabandham  what  Nambiandar  Nambi  rendered 
for  Thevaram.  Dr.  U.Ve.  Swaminatha  Ayyar  belongs  to  this  tribe  of  dedicated 
souls  of  wisdom  -  human  honeybees  indeed.  They  collected  because  they 
could  not  desist  from  doing  so  and  they  wanted  the  world  to  be  better  duly 
benefited  by  their  labour.  They  were  the  messengers  of  the  Infinite. 

*     *     * 
T.R.  NAVANEETHAM  -  FLAUTIST:  (b.  October.  16,  1  922) 

Daughter  of  Rajamanickathammal,  a  'sadir'  artiste,  Navaneetham  was  born 
m      '    a    P'ace    known    for    its    musical    excellence      near 
dance  and  music  from  her  m°ther  and  flute    from 
- ade  her  debut  as  a  flautist  at  the  te"der  age  of  eight, 
SIXty  years  °f  concerts  and  is  sti"  9<>lng  strong.       S  he 
StOCk  and  repert°ire  ^  takin9  9uida"ce  fro"  celebrities 
Ayyar'     Kumbakonam     Nagaraja     Rao    '  and 


Titles  &  Honours: 

Kuzha!  Isai  Arasi  by  Kumbakonam  Rajamanickam  Pillai. 

Kalaimamani  by  the  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram  in  1 969. 

Honoured  by  Ramani  Academy  of  Flute  1 990. 

Award  from  Muthamizh  Peravai  1 992. 

*     *     * 

Popularly  named  as  'Needumoorti'  after  Pallavi  Gopala  Ayyar's  Nattakurinji 
song  Needumoorti,  which  he  used  to  play  invariably  in  his  solos,  Neelamegham 
Pillai  was  the  stock  violin  accompanist  for  several  years  to  Bangalore  Thayee. 
He  was  staff  artiste,  All  India  Radio  upto  1942. 

NUAGUNA  YOGI  -  COMPOSER:  (c.  1560) 

Nothing  about  his  period,  parentage,  training,  etc.,  is  known  definitely.  It  is 
said  that  he  switched  over  from  administrative  work  to  become  a  Siva  Yogi  of 
the  Veera  Saiva  Cult.  He  was  a  scholar  and  a  musicologist-composer  who  had 
written  many  works  including  Viveka  Chintamani  on  Sangita  Sastra  dealing  with 
srirti,  swara,  alankara,  grama,  jati  and  instrumental  music.  His  compositions  are 
in  Sanskrit  and  kannada  under  the  signature  'Shambulinga';  and  he  is  also  called 
'Nijaguna  Aradhya'. 


(July  12, 1905  -April  1984) 

Nori  Nagabhushanam  Pantulu  was  born  at  Nandur  in  Andhra  Pradesh,  of 
Viswanatha  Sastri  in  a  family  of  musicians.  Learnt  vocal  and  violin  under  his 
father  and  later  with  Masulipatnam  Hari  Nagabhushanam  for  sometime.  He 
completed  the  study  of  Sanskrit,  sahitya  and  vedas  and  made  his  debut  as  a 
musician  in  his  tenth  year.  Was  teacher  in  the  then  district  board  schools.  He 
was  giving  a  large  number  of  performances  and  earning  honours.  A  devotee  of 
Tyagarajah,  he  conducted  special  festivals  from  1930  to  1942  at  Bapatla.  He 
was  Principal  of  the  Government  Music  College,  Secunderabad  during 
1952-1962,  Was  member  of  the  Experts  Committee  of  the  Music  Academy, 
Madras  and  of  the  Sangita  Natak  Academy,  Andhra  Pradesh. 

Has  composed  varnas  and  swarajatis.  The  Madras  Music  Academy 
honoured  him  in  1972  with  a  Certificate  of  Merit. 



Hugh  and  Colleen  Gantzer  writing  on  the  charm  of  Orcha  near  Gwalior  narrate 
the  tale  (or  what?)  they  were  told: 

*Rai  Praveen  was  a  courtesan,  poetess  and  singer.  The  Mughal  Emperor  wanted 
her  for  his  harem.  She  penned  and  sent  a  poem  saying,  "Crows,  dogs  and  scavengers 
sup  on  food  left  over  by  others.  Of  what  breed  are  you,  My  Lord".  Confronted  by  the 
poem,  the  Emperor  rescinded  his  order...  Sometimes,  you  can  hear  her  singing  still 
from  yonder  mansion  of  hers.' 

The  fundamental  human  instinct  crying  for  self-respect  finds  beautiful 
expression  in  this.  The  ferocity  of  the  metaphorical  categorisation  had  clearly 
impelled  total  disarming  of  the  Moghul  Emperor's  initial  overtures. 


Music  is  essentially  a  soft  art  in  spite  of  ragas  like  Atana,  shouting  songsters  and 
thumping  percussionists.  Still  occasions  had  arisen  sometimes: 

a.  Mayuram    Munsif    Court:    Disciple    sued    Koorainadu    Natesa    Pillai    for 
discrimination  among  students  in  teaching.  Suit  failed.  Vide  A  Garland. 

b.  Bidaram  Krishnappa  v.  Madras  Artiste:  Fortunately  it  stopped  with  notices. 

c.  Arumugha  Navalar  v.  Ramalinga  Swamigal:  Suit  failed. 

d.  K.  B.  Sundarambal  Charities:  Legal  notices  and  reply  were  given.  Result  not 
known.    The  artiste  had  created  an  endowment  of  all  her  properties  through  a 
registered  deed  and  a  registered  will.  Unfortunately  the  issue  had  not  been  properly 

e.  There  were  one  or  two  concerning  living  artistes  which  are  not  mentioned  here. 
Fortunately  they  would  seem  to  have  been  settled  smoothly. 



Father  :         T.S.  Rajagopala  Ayyangar. 

Academic  B.Sc.  (Mysore),  MA  (Kanpur),  M.Phil  &  Doctorate  from 

Qualifications  :         Bangalore  University. 

Musical  training  Mysore  Vasudevachar,  T.  Chowdiah,  Puttuswamiah, 

under  :          Chelva  Pillai  lyengar,  H.S.  Krishnamurty, 

R.R,  Keshavamurti, 

Sangita  Sastra  with  Rallapalli  Anantakrishna  Sarma. 

Sangita  Vidwan  Diploma  from  the  Mysore  Music  College. 

Padma  Murthy  has  had  extensive  training  under  renowned  musicians  and 
has  been  giving  concerts  for  over  three  decades,  taking  part  in  seminars  and 
conferences  on  music  and  musicology  and  contributing  articles.  Has  been 
Professor  and  Head  of  the  Department  of  Music,  University  of  Bangalore.  Has 
published  the  work  'Sangita  Lakshana  Sangraha'. 


(April  26,  1863  -  Novr.18,  1949) 

Place  of  birth  :         Trivandrum. 

Parents  :          Suchindram  Sthanu  Bhagavatar,  an  adept  in  singing 

Ashtapadi  &  Lakshmi,  also  musically  talented. 

Veena  training  under  :          Eldest  brother,  Veenai  Sarrkaranarayana  alias  Aiyah 

Bhagavatar  (1 846-1 888) . 

He  had  gufdance  from  Palghat  Parameswara 
Bhagavatar  and  Kalyana  Krishna  Bhagavatar. 

Posts  held  :         Veena  Player  at  Mahadheva  Temple,  Vaikom. 

Music  Teacher,  Government  Girls  High  Schools. 
Debut  :          At  the  Trivandrum  Navarathri  Mandapam  in  1 876. 

Padmanabha  Bhagavatar  was  an  expert  in  playing  ragam,  tanam  and  pallavi 
and  was  noted  for  the  elaboration  of  Kalyani,  Surutti,  etc.  ragas.  A  distinguished 
veena  player,  he  was  tutor  at  the  Palace.  The  eminent  tamil  composer, 
T.  Lakshmana  Pillai  was  among  his  disciples. 


Padma  Narayanaswamy  had  her  training  in  the  erstwhile  Government  Music 
College,  Madras  and  got  her  Sangeetha  Vidwan  Diploma  in  1 964  and  had  further 


intensive  training  with  a  Government  of  India  Cultural  Scholarship  under  the 
distinguished  Vocalist  Musiri  Subramania  Ayyar.  Married  in  1965 
K.V.  Narayanaswami  one  of  the  present  top  vocalists  who  was  then  with  the 
Government  Music  College  and  was  her  guru  too  therein. 

She  has  been  giving  concerts  on  the  radio  and  in  sabhas  and  lends  vocal 
support  to  her  reputed  husband  in  his  concerts.  In  1974-75,  had  a  teaching 
assignment  at  the  American  Society  for  Eastern  Arts,  Berkeley,  California,  had 
participated  in  the  Berlin  Music  Festival,  1977  and  had  given  concerts  in  the 
USA,  Europe  and  Canada.  In  1984-85,  she  accompanied  K.V.  Narayanaswami 
to  teach  and  perform  at  San  Diego  State  University. 


Daughter  of  R.  Rangaramanuja  Ayyangar,  the  renowned  musicologist, 
vainika,  teacher,  and  disciple  and  admirer  of  Veena  Dhanammal,  Padma 
Varadan  had  the  benefit  of  an  immense  musical  environment  and  the  wisdom  of 
her  father  while  young.  In  her  ninth  year,  she  started  giving  concerts  on  the  All 
India  Radio.  Since  then,  she  has  given  quite  a  number  of  concerts  first  with  her 
distinguished  father  and  later  separately.  Her  veena  play  is  soft  and  soothing 
(which  her  father  used  to  favour  much),  satisfying,  musically  elevating  and 
bhava-based.  The  legacy  she  inherited  has  not  only  been  made  proper  use  of 
but  Padma  Varadan  has  taken  genuine  efforts  to  enhance  the  merit  of  the  same. 

Concert  tours:  Sri  Lanka,  Singapore,  USA  and  Europe. 

*      *      * 


Two  families  of  Tanjore  had  distinguished  themselves,  viz.,  the  family  of  the 
Tanjore  Quartette  and  that  of  Govindaswamy  Nattuvanar.  To  the  latter  belonged 
Pakkiri  Pillai,  son  of  Ammalu  Ammal.  In  days  of  yore,  nattuvanars  were  all 
conversant  with  play  on  mridangam  also.  Pakkiri  Pillai  had  his  training  under 
Kuppuswami  Nattuvanar,  made  his  debut  at  a  musical  discourse  of  Patti  Krishna 
Bhagavatar  and  had  been  accompanying  all  harikatha  exponents.  Patnam 
Subramania  Ayyar  drew  him  out  to  one  of  his  concerts  and  therefrom  Pillai  had 
provided  accompaniment  to  all  the  top  vocalists  of  his  day. 

B.M.  Sundaram  states  that  Narayana  Appa  appreciated  the  play  of  Pakkiri 
Pillai  and  said  that  it  would  resemble  fragrant  rosewater  spray  -  soft  and 
satisfying.  Krishna  Bhagavatar  called  him  'Sunadha  Bhoopati'.  A  peculiar 
characteristic  of  Pillai  was  that  he  would  be  seen  always  with  his  umbrella 
whether  it  be  a  concert  or  elsewhere  -  the  Chamberlain  of  Tanjore! 



Parents :  -  Gurumurti  Nayanakarar  and  Naadi  Ammal 

Place  of  birth:  Deepambalpuram,  Tanjore  District. 

Musical  Training  with:  Tirukkarugavur  Sivagurunatha  Pillai,  Tavil,  Tiruppam- 

buram  nagaswaram  Nataraja  Pillai  and  Srivanjiam 
Govinda  Tavilkarar. 

He  was  permanent  accompanist  on  tavil  for  nagaswaram  Mannargudi 
Chinna  Pakkiriah  Pillai.  Enjoyed  a  pleasing  personality  and  displayed 
remarkable  imaginative  skill  in  dexterous  rhythmic  manipulations.  Thanjavur 
Upendran,  a  popular  mridanga  vidwan  was  his  grandson. 

B.M.  Sundaram  states  that  the  present  practice  of  a  senior  joining  the  team 
as  'Special  Tavil'  was  not  in  vogue  in  early  times.  Lt  used  to  be  said  - 

For  Nagaswaram,  Mannargudi  Pakkiri; 

For  Tavil,  Ammapettai  Pakkiri  and 

For  Konnakol,  there  is  Mannargudi  Pakkiri.  (a  different  artiste). 

Each  had  distinguished  himself  in  his  respective  field  aftd  all  were  household 

An  incident  is  cited  to  highlight  the  sense  of  dignity  and  self-respect  of 
Ammapettai  Pakkiriah  Pillai.  Pleased  with  the  brilliant  nagaswaram  play  of 
Mannargudi  Pakkiriah  Pillai  and  the  vibrant  tavil  of  Ammapettai  Pakkiriah  Pillai, 
the  trustee  of  Sri  Kandaswami  Temple,  Madras  brought  two  golden  'thodas'.  The 
nagaswaram  artiste  having  received  one  already  on  his  right  hand,  held  out  the 
left  hand  too  and  the  trustee  out  of  delicasy  gave  him  the  second  too.  Enraged 
at  the  slight,  Tavil  Pakkiriah  Pillai  walked  out  of  the  place  never  to  play  together. 
Later  they  played  together  but  without  a  shade  of  whisper  between  themselves. 

11  Music  forgot  the  insult; 
Profession  ignored  the  slight;  but 
Self-  respect  held  'its'  head  high! " 


(b.  April  10,  1948) 

Born  at  Haridwaramangalam,  of  Kumaravel  Pillai  and  Sethukannammal, 
Palanivel  had  his  training  in  tavil  play  under  his  father  and  Kalaimamani 
Tirucherai  Muthukumaraswami  Pillai.  A  vibrant  player  on  tavil,  he  is  a  popular 
vidwan  and  has  trained  many.  A  front-line  artiste,  he  has  been  honoured  with 
many  titles  like: 

Tavil  Isai  Tilakam, 
Tavil  Isai  Kurisil, 


Laya  Vadya  Kaianidhi  and 

Kalairnamani  from  Tamil  Nadu  Eyai  Isai  Nataka  Mandram  in  1980. 

Concert  tours:  U.S.A.,  Canada  and  Sri  Lanka. 

ILUPPUR  PANCHAMI  -  TAVIL  WIZARD  &  VOCALIST:  (August  4, 1905  - 

March.22, 1935) 

Panchami  was  a  versatile  wizard  in  vocal  music,  tavil  and  kanjira.  Besides 
he  was  a  composer  too.  He  had  high  musical  connections  like  lluppur 
Ponnuswami,  his  violinist  uncle,  Natesa  Pillai,  nagaswara  brother,  etc.  By  the 
age  of  six,  he  revealed  ample  signs  of  high  promise  and  a  glorious  future.  Had 
his  training  with  Malaikottai  Venkatachala  Tavilkarar  and  Lalgudi  Angappan, 

He  was  a  constant  accompanist  to  Perambalur  Angappan,  a  very  prominent 
nagaswara  vidwan.  While  he  showed  his  talents  at  the  tender  age  of  six  at 
Bikshandarkoil,  he  made  his  debut  at  the  Malaikottai  temple,  Tiruchirapalli  atthe 
age  of  nine.  Restless  impatience  to  reveal  his  multi-faceted  genius  led  him  to 
different  walks  of  musical  life  as  indicated  below: 

Started  career  with  his  brother,  Natesa  Pillai  as  Tavil  player. 

Was  with  Madurai  Ponnuswami  Pillai  in  1919  and  with  the  Todi  Wizard, 
T.N.  Rajarathinam  Pillai  during  1924-27. 

Turned  a  vocalist  conscious  of  and  impelled  by  his  melliflous  voice  in  1 927 
Resumed  tavil  and  kanjira  play  in  1929. 

As  a  kanjira  vidwan,  he  had  accompanied  prominent  musicians  like 
Dr.  Semmangudj  Srinivasa  Ayyar.  Tavil  Panchami  was  a  household  name  for 
sheer  brilliance,  dexterous  finger-play,  bristling  laya  expertise  and  innovative 
presentation.  He  was  religious  and  wore  only  hand-spun  khadi.  There  was 
everything  that  was  good  and  great  with  him  except  a  sudden  twist  in  his  career. 

B.M.  Sundaram  states  that  he  inherited  addiction  to  drink  during  his  brief 
tenure  with  T.N.  Rajarathinam  Pillai.  Both  were  genuises-  one  in  melody  and 
the  other  in  laya.  Twenty-six  year  old  Melody  passed  on  its  pet  weakness  to 
nineteen-year  old  Percussion!  Percussion  had  to  wind  up  its  stay  on  earth  in  a 
decade,  though  Melody  managed  to  last  for  three  decades  more.  Could  it  be 
that  the  acquired  habit  hastened  Panchami's  untimely  death?  The  glamorous 
player  died  at  the  prime  of  his  career  and  Art  lost  much,  Death  due  to  alcoholism 
is  Suicide  and  a  Tragedy  and  here  Art  hastened  the  tragedy  by  imbibing  the 
suicidal  practice.  Drink  is  fire  to  sulphureous  Art!  (Vide  "Boom,  Booze,  Doom" 
at  page  444  of  'A  Garland") 

While  his  popularity  and  place  in  the  annals  of  Carnatic  music  are  inscribed 
as  a  tavil  vidwan,  that  he  was  an  excellent  vocalist  with  a  mellifluous  and  speedy 


brika  voice,  that  the  erudite  musician  had  composed  the  chittaswaras  now 
appended  to  Palukavemi  (Poornachandrika),  Niravadisukhada  (Ravichandrika), 
Sobhillu  Saptaswara  (Jaganmohini)  and  Mariyadagadura  (Sankarabharanam) 
and  that  Kanchipuram  Naina  Pillai  selected  him  for  giving  vocal  concert  on  the 
occasion  of  the  marriage  of  his  daughter  are  not  commonly  known!  Such  facts 
elevate  Panchami  in  the  estimation  of  admirers  and  he  was  a  genius. 

*     *     * 


A  disciple  of  Syama  Sastri  and  scholar,  Panchanada  Ayyar  was  a  prominent 
composer.  A  devotee  of  Lord  Vighneswara  he  adopted  the  signature  'Danti 
Mukha  Janani'  and  'Panchanada'. 

The  following  are  among  his  compositions; 

Arabhimana  Ragamalika  in  1 6  ragas 

Birana  Brova  Yide  Kalyani 

Sarasijanetra  Kalakada  (1 3) 

Palimpavamma  Mukhari 

PAPA  CHUDAMANI  alias  SITALAKSHMI:  VOCALIST:  (1936  - 1978) 

Father  Choodamani  Sastri 

Guru  Ambi  Subramania  Bhagavatar. 

Debut  Bangalore  Town  Hall  in  her  eleventh  year. 

Papa  Choodamani  had  given  concerts  on  the  All  India  Radio  and  elsewhere. 
Had  a  melodious  voice  and  a  good  sweep  of  the  upper  octave. 

Title:  Gana  Visaradhe  by  the  Mysore  Maharaja  in  1 965. 

*      *      * 


After  Sarngadeva,  author  of  Sangita  Ratnakara,  Parsvadeva  is  a  prominent 
authority  and  it  would  appear  that  he  was  a  near-  contemporary  of  Sarngadeva. 
While  Sarngadeva  does  not  quote  him,  Simha  Bhoopala  refers  to  him,  says 
Dr.  V.S.  Sampathkumaracharya  of  Mysore.  Dr.  V.  Raghavan  has  stated  that  the 
musicologist  would  have  lived  between  11 65  and  1 330  A.D. 

Parsvadeva  has  authored  the  work  Sangita  Samayasara  which  deals  with 
raganga,  bhashanga,  upanga  classification  of  ragas  and  the  lakshanas  of 
forty-three  popular  ragas  of  the  period.  Seventy-five  slokas  deal  with  ragas  and 
the  author  styles  himself  as  an  'Ocean  of  Music'. 



(1 879  -Octr.  1958) 

Son  of  bharata  natya  artiste  Amman!  Ammal,  Pasupathia  Pillai  had  his 
training  under  Achalpuram  Dharmalinga  Tavilkarar  (father  of  the  eminent 
Chidambaram  Vaidyanatha  Pillai)  and  the  eminent  Ammachatram  Kannuswami 
Pillai  -  (Vide  page  106  and  396  -A  Garland).  Pasupathia  Pillai  was  very  popular 
and  was  one  of  the  top  tavilkars  but  was  incapacited  at  the  peak  of  his  fortunes, 
blood  oozing  out  from  his  fingers  if  he  struck  or  played!  He  was  forced  to  be  a 
teacher  and  among  his  disciples  were  Nachiarkoil  Raghava  Pillai  and 
Tiruvalaputhur  Kaliamurti. 

M.P.  PERIASWAMI  @  Pe.THOORAN  -  COMPOSER  :  (Septr.  26,  1908  -) 

Place  of  birth  :          Modakurichi  /  Manjakattuvalasu  in  Coimbatore  district. 

Parentage  :          Palanivelappa  Gounder  and  Paavaathal. 

A  born  teacher,  patriot  and  a  composer  of  merit,  Periaswami  Thooran  is  a 
respected  figure.  He  was  greatly  influenced  and  inspired  by  Mahakavi 
Subramania  BharatL  He  declined  to  sit  for  his  examination  for  Bachelor  of  Arts 
shocked  by  the  execution  of  the  immortal  Bhagat  Singh,  a  prince  among  patriots 
by  the  British.  (Vide  the  life  of  K.B.  Sundarambal  for  a  like  reaction.)  Thooran 
qualified  later  passing  B.A.,  LT,  A  voracious  writer,  he  composed  over  six 
hundred  songs  on  national,  spiritual  and  moral  issues.  He  wrote  'a  poem  a  day' 
for  several  years  after  his  daily  poojahs.  His  song  'Adu  Ratte'  was  a  clarion 
patriotic  call  which  was  widely  in  current  use  during  the  Freedom  Struggle.  He 
became  popular  and  the  melody  queen  N.C.  Vasantakokilam  included  this  piece 
in  her  concerts  invariably.  (It  is  unfortunate  that  the  sublime  atmosphere  that 
prevailed  during  the  Freedom  Movement  is  a  mirage  now.  One  has  just  to 
recollect  Subramania  Bharati's  Thanneer  Vitto  Valartom  and  other  songs.)  A 
precocious  chifd  and  later  a  man  with  noble  ideals,  Thooran  is  an  acknowledged 
poet  and  composer.  Analogous  to  Tyagarajah's  'Santhamulekha,  Soukyamu 
ledhu',  Thooran's  'Santhamillamal  sukham  undo?  (Nattakurinji)  stresses  that 
there  is  no  joy  without  patience  and  no  contentment  amidst  worries.  Deep 
philosophical  truths  lay  hidden  in  his  simple  devotional  songs.  Musical 
aesthetics  and  bhavafind  abundant  evidence  in  his  compositions. 

With  profound  poetic  talents,  he  had  to  seek  like  Arunachala  Kavirayar 
outside  help  to  set  his  songs  to  tune  as  he  was  not  a  musician.  He  availed  of 
the  services  of  Sivaramakrishna  Ayyar  as  guru  and  choreographer. 
(Sivaramakrishnan  was  bom  in  1913  at  Mavelikara  in  Kerala  and  had  joined  Sri 
Ramakrishna  Vidyalaya  as  music  teacher  in  1937.)  Thooran  had  also  availed 
of  the  services  of  senior  musicians  like  K.V.  Narayanaswamy,  T.M.  Theagarajan, 
T.K.  Govinda  Rao  and  T.V.  Sankaranarayanan  to  set  his  songs  to  music. 


Eminent  musicians  like  Tiger  Varadachariar,  Musiri  Subramania  Ayyar  and 
Semmangudi  Srinivasa  Ayyar  had  spoken  highly  of  his  compositions.  His  songs 
have  been  brought  out  in  five  volumes  titled  'Isai  Man/  Manjari'.  Annamalai 
University,  Alliance  Company,  Tamil  Isai  Sangham  and  Tamil  Writers'  Association 
have  brought  out  his  works.  His  publications  include  'Thooran  Stories'  (1 962), 
'Nalla  Nalla  Pattu  '  (1965)  Vail  of  the  Wild  'and  'Bharati '  for  children. 

His  claim  to  fame  rests  on  his  memorable  contributions  to  tamil.  He  was 
Chief  Editor,  Tamil  Encyclopaedia  during  1 948-1 978  and  the  encyclopaedia  went 
into  ten  huge  volumes.  The  credit  for  bringing  out  the  first-ever  Children's 
Encyclopaedia  in  tamil  in  ten  volumes  also  goes  to  him.  His  life  was  one  of 
fulfilment  and  enduring  contribution  of  intellectual  excellence.  The  moral  code 
of  conduct  he  set  for  himself  was  -high.  When  T.S.  Avinashilingam  Chettiar 
granted  him  a  salary  of  Rs.thirty,  he  took  only  Rs.fifteen  per  mensem.  This 
reminds  one  of  the  former  Prime  Minister  Lai  Bahadur  Sastri,  Gottuvadyam 
Sakharama  Rao  and  Violin  Sundaresa  Ayyar  of  Tiruvalangadu  and  men  of  such 
unstained  galactic  stream. 

Posts  held: 

Teacher  in  Gobichettipalayam  -  4  years. 

Warden  &  Teacher,  Sri  Ramakrishna  Vidyalaya,  Perianaickenpalayam  - 1 5  years. 
Chief  Editor,  Tamil  Encyclopaedia  - 1 948  - 1 978. 

Chief  Editor,  Tamil  Kalai  Kalanjiam,  a  prestigious  journal. 

Honours  arid  Titles: 

Padma  Bhushan  by  President  of  India  1 968 

Isai  Perarignar  by  Tamil  Isai  Sangham  1 972 

Kalaimamani  by  T.N.  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram  1 970 

Annamalai  Chettiar  Award  by  MAC  Charities  1 978 

Thooran's  multi-sided  interests  covered  the  deliberations  and  activities  of  - 

The  All  India  Radio, 

Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram., 

Tamil  Isai  Sangham  , 

Central  College  of  Carnatic  Music, 

Tamil  Kalluri,  etc. 

R.  PICHUMANI  -  VAINIKA:  (b.  May  18, 1920) 

Born  in  a  family  of  musicians,  R.  Pichumani  had  training  in  vocal  music  under 
Jalra  Gopala  Ayyar  at  the  age  of  ten  and  later  veena  with  Tiruchi  Kuppanna.  At 
the  age  of  fifteen  he  won  the  prize  for  Carnatic  Vocal  at  the  National  College. 
Became  a  'Sangeetha  Bhooshanam'  of  the  Annamalai  University  under  the 


stalwarts  Tiger  Varadachariar,  K.S.  Narayanaswami  Ayyar  and  V.S.  Gornati 
Sankara  Ayyar.  'On  the  foundations  of  the  intensive  training  received  there,  he 
built  for  himself  a  distinct  Classical  Carnatic  aesthetics  enduring  the  pressures 
thrust  on  him  by  the  materially  rich  and  gorgeous  world  of  cine-music  in  which 
he  had  to  serve  for  a  number  of  years  during  his  early  years.5  (R.V.) 

For  nearly  five  decades,  Pichumani  has  been  a  dedicated  sampradaya 
vainika  having  given  over  1500  concerts  on  the  radio,  doordarshan,  sabhas,  etc. 
He  is  a  respected  vidwan  known  for  unruffled  rendition  at  once  satisfying  and 

Posts  held : 

Secretary,  Tiruvaiyaru  Tyaga  Brahmotsava  Sabha  (1 980) 

Selection  Committee  Member  and  Chief  Examiner  for  Vidwan  courses  in 

State  Music  Colleges. 
Faculty  Member  and  Board  Member  for  Practical  Examinations, 

Annamalai  University. 

Honours  &  titles: 

Shanmughavadivu  Award  (twice)  from  the  Music  Academy,  Madras. 

Kalaimamani  & 

Gold  medal  by  the  Tamil  Nadu  Eyai  Isai  Nataka  Mandram          1 970-71 . 

Sangeetha  Ratnam    by  Bharatha  Natya  Academy  1 959. 

Veena  Nada  Mani       by  H,H.  Sankaracharya  of  Kanchi  1 982. 
Veena  Praveena        by  Santhome  Arts  Academy. 

Award  by  Sangeet  Natak  Akademy  ,  Delhi  1 989 

Sangita  Kaia  Nipuna  by  Mylapore  Rne  Arts  1 991 . 
(Veenai  Vithagar,  Veenai  Isai  Vithagar  &  Nadakanal  are  the  other  titles.) 

R.  Pichumani  has  composed  swarajatis,  varnam,  javalis  and  a  tillana  and 
has  invented  the  raga,  Vasantha  Kaisiki.  Has  trained  many  disciples  including 
his  sons,  R  Viswanathan  of  the  All  India  Radio  and  R  Chandrasekharan,  a 
professional  veena  player. 

Disc  recordings: 

*     *     * 

K.  PONNIAH  PILLAI  -  COMPOSER-PEDAGOGUE:     (1888  -  June  30,  1945) 

A  family  of  eminent  musicians,  dance  masters,  composers  and  teachers  of 
Tanjore  with  its  high  watermark  in  the  illustrious  Tanjore  Quartette  has  given 
successive  waves  of  artistes.  The  present  generation  includes  K.P.  Kittappa 
Pillai  and  K.P.  Sivanandam  Pillai.  Their  father,  Ponniah  Pillai  was  born  at 
Pandanallur,  of  Kannuswami  Pillai,  a  dance  master  then  at  Baroda.  He  had  his 
training  in  — 


Music,  dance  and       ;         with  PandanaSlur  Meenakshisundaram  Pillai  - 15  years; 

Tamil,  telugu,  etc.        :          under  competent  instructors  and 

Advanced  music         :          under  Paighat  Anantarama  Ayyar  and 

Tiruvotriyur  Tyagayyar. 

Ron nsah  Pillai  had  learnt  mridangam  under  T.R.  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  also. After 
training,  he  joined  his  father,  who  had  then  returned  from  Baroda  to  Tanjore,  in 
teaching  music  and  dance.  Tanjore  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar,  the  percussion  stalwart 
was  among  the  disciples. 

Ponniah  Pillai  was  Lecturer,  Music  College  of  the  Annamalai  University 

taking  both  vocal  and  mridangam  classes.  The  University  had  then  a  number 
of  distinguished  musicians  and  Pillars  teaching  acumen  attracted  considerable 

appreciation.  K.S.  Narayanaswamy,  Veena  Vidwan  states  that  'we  would  attend 
his  mridangam  classes  whenever  we  did  not  have  our  own1.  It  indicates  the 

genial  attitude  and  the  teaching  acumen  of  the  master.  Was  Member,  Madras 
Music  Academy  Experts  Committee  and  the  Syndicate  of  the  Madras  University. 
He  had  presided  over  numerous  conferences. 

Compositions  :          Jatiswarams,  Tana  Varnas,  Kirtanas  &  Tillanas. 

Tour  ;          Sri  Lanka  where  he  held  summer  classes. 

Publications  :          Isal  Eyal 

Seyalmurai  Isai  Nool 
Tanjore  Peruvudayan  Perisai 
(containing  the  songs  of  his  ancestors), 

His  songs  were  published  in  the  University  publication  titled  'Rajah 
Annamalai  Karuvoolam*  in  1949  by  his  sons.  He  was  closely  involved  in  the 
Tamil  Isai  Movement  and  had  presided  over  the  Tamil  Isai  Conference  in  1941. 

The  Music  Academy  conferred  on  him  the  title  of  'Sangita  Kalanidhi'  in  1 933. 
Ponniah  Pillai  composed  the  initial  ten  'adavus'  with  120  subdivisions  for 
bharatanatya,  besides  framing  the  model  programme  for  dance  concerts  with 
alarippu,  jatiswaram,  sabdam,  pada  varnam,  swarajati,  padam,  ragamalika, 
sloka  and  tillana. 

The  most  interesting  fact  about  his  family  is  that  many  of  them  were  experts 
in  the  triple  field  of  music,dance,and  composition.  Ancestry  is  traced  to 
Gangaimuthu  of  Sankaranarkoil,  who  with  his  brother  Ramalingam,  was  in  the 
service  of  Maharajah  Thulajah  of  Tanjore.  The  genealogy  passes  through 
Subbarayan,  Sivanandam  of  the  Quartette,  Sabapathi  and  Kannuswams  to 
Ponniah  Pillai.  The  great  lakshana  vidwan  who  was  a  distinguished  teacher  and 
composer  was  a  good  mridangam  player  too. 


pyf^DAS-KAVlTmLA-  MUSICOLOGIST:  (C.151O  -  1576) 

Vittala  is  the  author  of  the  quartet  of  works: 

Shadraga  Chandrodayam  , 

Nattana  Nirnayam  , 
Ragamala  and 

The'  first  work  gives  details  of  his  biography.  He  was  born  at  a  plaoo  called 
Sathanur  near  a  hill  known  as  Saivagangamalai,  of  Vittalarya  and  Nagamba  in 
about  1510  A.  D.  Probably  he  derived  his  name  after  the  name  of  the  local  deity, 
Vittalarayaswami  or  Vittala  Gopalaswamy.  He  was  a  scholar  in  Sanskrit  and 
kannada  and  well-  versed  in  dance  and  music.  The  odd  factor  in  his  \\fe  is  that 
he  did  not  shine  in  that  abode  of  art  and  culture,  Vijayanagar  but  had  to  m  igrate 
to  Anandavalli,  capital  of  Khandesh  ruled  by  Burhan  Khan  for  patronage, 
Shadraga  Chandrodayam  is  dedicated  to  this  patron.  Then  he  was  at  Gwalior 
with  Rajah  Mansingh  Tomwar  and  at  Delhi  patronised  by  Mana  Sim  ha  and 
Madhava  Sirnha,  who  are  referred  to  by  Vittala  in  his  Raganirnayam.  At  Delhi 
he  was  patronised  by  Emperor  Akbar,  to  whom  Narthana  Nirnayam  was 
dedicated,  The  work  Ragamala  was  completed  on  July  30,  1576.  He  has 
described  and  praised  sixty-six  ragas  in  slokas.  T.S.  Parthasarathy 

'  Perhaps  he  is  the  only  theoretician  who  was  well-versed  in  both  the  systems  -  Raga 
Ragini  and  Mela  systems.  He  was  able  to  secure  a  respectable  place  at  Ahmednagar, 
Gwalior  and  Delhi.  ' 

Why  his  native  kingdom  failed  to  provide  him  with  a  congenial  berth  is  left  to 



(to.  1943) 

Bom  at  Hyderabad,  Purnachandra  had  knowledge  of  telugu  from  his*  father 
and  kannada  from  his  mother.  Learnt  the  themes  and  art  of  musical  disseourse 
from  his  mother.  Learnt  music  from  Tirumalachariar  and  Balasubramania 
Bhagavatar.  Was  noted  for  his  musical  discourses.  Was  employed  in  Central 

Honours  &  Titles : 

Nataka  Bhushanam,  Gayaka  Ratna  Sudha  Nidhi, 
Bala  Bhagavata,  besides  medals. 



1 A  handsome  stripling  with  a  curious  coiffure  that  subsequently  became 
the  fashion  among  his  fans,  clad  in  spotless  white  muslin  with  loose 
sleeves  flying  about,  with  eyes  closed  and  the  music!  What  an  intoxicat- 
ing voice,  responding  readily,  with  incredible  ease  and  grace,  to  the 
surging  crescendo  of  ravishing,  sophisticated  music  conjured  up  from  a 
highly  imaginative  mind!  And  how  the  audience  rocked  and  swayed  as 
if  in  a  trance1, 

observes  R.  Rangaramanuja  Ayyangar  of  Pushpavanam  of  Madurai,  a  disciple 
of  one  of  the  renowned  teachers  of  yester  years,  Ettayapuram  Ramachandra 
Bhagavatar.  The  teacher  prayed  for  a  disciple  who  would  blend  his  unmatched 
expertise  with  a  divine  voice  and  Pushpavanam  was  the  answer  and  gift  to  him. 

Pushpavanam  was  a  musical  discovery,  a  treasure-trove.  The 
Slower-garden',  which  the  name  of  the  vocalist  actually  means,  was  a  veritable 
garden  of  raga,  tana,  pallavi,  kriti  and  swara  and  he  was  a  master  of  concerts 
with  few  to  challenge;  but  unfortunately,  he  passed  away  too  soon  leaving  an 
undying  name  and  fame.  His  daughter,  Rajam  was  a  vocalist  and  Sangita 
Kalanidhi  Madurai  Mani  Ayyar  was  his  nephew, 

In  a  tribute,  Dr.  Srinivasa  Ayyar  says  that  Pushpavanam 's  music  was  '  as 
attractive  as  his  personality...  effortless...  His  voice  was  his  forte  and  audience 
listened  with  pin-drop  silence'.  He  writes  in  the  Journal  of  the  Music  Academy 

that  Pushpavanam  developed  raga  alapana  leisurely,  that  his  wonderful  voice 
was  noted  for  power  and  sinuous  beauty  and  that  it  was  difficult  to  see  or  talk  to 
him.  Pushpavanam  would  go  away  the  minute  the  concert  was  over.  As  I  write 
this  sentence  on  September  5,  1 991 ,  a  news  item  in  the  'Hindu  '  reveals: 

'Most  of  the  top  tennis  players  don't  hang  out.  They  go,  they  play  and  they 
leave.  Everybody  has  his  own  entourage  and  keeps  to  themselves!  -  (Gigi 

'  We  don't  talk.  Just  say  " W.  I  just  walk  by  and  they  walk  by  me.  That  is  the  whole 
contact  we  have, '  —  Monica  Seles. 

(No  wonder  it  is  so.  Tennis  brings  staggering  prize  money  in  astronomical 
figures  even  for  defeats! ) 

Soolamangalam  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar,  the  celebrated  musical  discourser 
wrote  long  back  in  'Kalki ': 

1  Pushpavanam's  voice  was  a  gift  of  Heaven.  No  accompanist  is  required  to  render 
his  concert  memorable. 

Musicians1  remuneration  at  that  time  went  up  only  because  of  his  stringent 


attitude.  He  stipulated  and  got  what  he  wanted.  Sometimes,  the  host-organiser 

would  pay  double  the  stipulated  sum  captivated  by  the  scintillating  music  of  the 
artiste.  Was  a  little  conceited.  Once  all  the  great  musicians  had  come  for  a 
function  but  he  did  not  come  as  his  stipulation  had  not  been  confirmed.  Only  on 
receipt  of  a  telegram,  he  chose  to  come.  And  finally,  he  got  a  double  of  that 

amount,  the  host  surrendering  to  the  magical  wizardry  of  his  matchless  melody!' 


Place  of  birth  :          Deogiri  in  Haveri  taluk,  Karnataka. 

Parents  ;          Revayya  and  Siddamma 

A  distinguished  instrumentalist  and  composer,  Puttaraja  Gavai  was  born 
blind  and  is  a  disciple  of  Chandrasekhara  of  Venkatapura  Hiray  Mata  who  was 
a  disciple  of  the  celebrated  Panchakshari  Gavai.  In  fact  the  Gadag  Punyashrama 
is  stated  to  have  been  started  by  Panchakshari  Gavai  and  Puttaraja  Gavai, 
Probably  both  had  played  a  great  and  noble  role  in  the  life  of  that  institution, 
Learnt  violin  from  Raghavendracharya.  Puttaraja  is  a  genius  who  can  also 
handle  harmonium,  sarangi,  dilruba,  sitar,  tabla,  etc.  He  belongs  to  the  select 
band  of  great  musicians  who  were  or  are  blind  but  had  found  no  inhibition  on 
that  account  in  achieving  expertise  and  high  image  in  the  field  of  music.  (Vide 
'A  Garland' on  blind  bards.) 

Puttaraja  has  brought  out  many  works  and  dramas  like  - 

Sivasarana  Chinnayya, 

Sevati  Matsara, 


Stri  Jivana, 

Akkamma  Devi  Purana  (in  Shatpadi  metre). 


Kannada  was  his  medium  but  his  Guru  Gita  is  in  Sanskrit  and  Basava  Purana 
is  in  hindi.  Had  many  disciples. 

Honours  &  Titles         :         State  Sangita  Academy  Award  1 962 

Ubhaya  Vadhana  Kanthirava 
Ubhaya  Qayanacharya 
Sangita  Sahitya  Ratna,  etc. 


Father  and  guru          :          Mare  Gowda 

Further  musical 

training  under  :          Rangachar,  Ananta  Sastri  &  Bidaram  Krishnappa 


Mridangam  training 

under  :          Muthuswamy  Devar  of  Mysore. 

Place  of  birth  :          Tagadur  village,  Narsipur  taluk. 

Started  with  tabla  and  took  to  mridangam  later.  Made  his  debut  playing 
his  guru  Bidaram  Krishnappa  in  his  fifteenth  year  and  has  been  having  v\ 
practice.  Puttaswamayya  is  one  of  Karnataka's  elder  mridangists. 

Honours  &  Titles: 

Sangita  Ratna  By  Maharaja  Chamaraja  Wodeyar 

Gana  Kala  Sindhu      By  Mysore  Sangita  Sammelan 
Gana  Kala  Ratna       By  Mysore  Gana  Kala  Parishad 
Sangeet  Natak  Akademy  Award  1 962 

Puttaswamayya  was  the  President  of  Mysore  Kalabhivairdmi  Sabha  an< 
started  the  Kanakadasa  Vidyarthi  Nilaya,  Nanjangud. 


Parentage  :          Tirumukkudal  Agastya  Gowd  &  Sundaramma. 

(A  brother  of  T.  Chowdiah,  the  renowned  violinist.) 

Musical  Preceptor       :          Bidaram  Krishnappa  for  six  years. 

Debut  :          At  Sri  Ram  Temple,  Nanjangud  with  brother  T.  Chov 

on  violin  and  Mysore  Muthuswamy  Devar  on  mridar 

A  traditionalist,  Puttaswamayya  was  noted  for  his  raga  exposition  and  p* 
elaboration.  Has  trained  many  disciples.  Puttaswamayya  was  Profess< 
Music,  University  of  Bangalore. 

Honours  &  Titles: 

Honoured  by  Nalwadi  Krishnaraja  Wodeyar,  Mysore  1 938 

Gana  Vidya  Varidhi  by  Mysore  Sabha  1 969 
Gana  Kala  Ratna  by  Kala  Parishad,  Bangalore 

Sangit  Natak  Akademy  Award.  1 971 

Disc  recordings: 


'Example  is  the  school  of  mankind  arid  they  will  learn  at  no  other.' 

—  Edmund  B 

*      *      * 



i.        The  tamil  adage  says,  'Vallavanukku  pullum  ayudham'  (Even  a  grass  blade  is  a 
mighty  weapon  to  the  strong).  Nikfail  Mohanto  presents  exquisite  music  with  a  leaf 

covering  alapana  and  songs  producing  the  sound  of  a  shenoi.    (Doordarshan 

October  23?  1990) 

ii.       Tulasiram   Bhimrao  Sutar  of  Lanjwad,   Bidar,   Karnataka  gives  thirty-minute 
programmes  with  a  fresh  leaf. 


Music  is  a  fine  art  to  the  art-lover  for  entertainment  and  enlightenment; 
a    profession  and  means  of  livelihood  to  the  musician; 
an  accoustic  phenomenon  and  a  science  on  sound  for  the 

musicologist;  but  it  is 

Nada  Yoga  or  Nadopasana,  the  worship  ofNada  Brahman  and 
the  easiest  way  to  salvation  for  saints  and  philosophers  from 
Yajnavalkya  to  Tyagaraja. 

—  T.S.  Parthasarathy. 

ii.  6Jhere  is  a  wrong  belief  that  Carnatic  music  is  Brahmin-oriented  music.  Actually  it 
owes  as  much  to  non-Brahmins  as  to  Brahmins.  According  to  Manu,  a  Brahmin  can 
only  teach  music  but  not  take  it  up  as  a  profession.  '  * 

"Most  vidwans  and  vidushis  fail  to  build  over  the  great  compositions  their  own. 
These  compositions  which  are  the  backbone  and  glory  of  Carnatic  music  have 
become  more  a  hindrance  than  a  help  to  their  creativity/ 

'It  is  time  v/e  had  second  thoughts  on  the  Ariyakudi  paddhati  followed  in  recitals.  I 
personally  think  it  has  done  incalculable  damage  to  Carnatic  music...  Unfortunately 
it  has  put  the  system  into  a  strait-jacket  and  spelt  disaster  to  the  musicians'  creativity. 
He  is  now  compelled  to  pack  a  dozen  items  into  a  recital...  He  has  lost  his  freedom 
when  freedom  is  the  essence  of  our  music/ 

—  RGKin  Indian  Express 

Note:  Such  canards  were  spread  by  imperialist  stooges  and  vested  interests  even  regarding 
independence  movement,  satyagraha  and  Indian  National  Congress  then. 




Son  and  disciple  of  Rama  Ayyar  of  Lalgudi,  Radhakrishna  Ayyar  was  a 
popular  figure  who  enjoyed  a  large  circle  of  admirers  including  the  Rajah  of 
Ramnad  where  he  was  asthana  vidwan.  He  brought  up  his  sons,  Madurai 
Kandaswami  Bhagavatar  (1 890  - 1 939)  and  V.R.  Gopala  Ayyar  (1 900  - 1 979)  as 
violinists.  (While  the  former  settled  at  Vaigai-fed  Pandyan  Madurai,  the  latter 
chose  to  remain  at  his  ancestral,  Cauvery-fed  Chola  village  of  Lalgudi.)  He  was 
a  flautist  too  and  ran  a  music  school  at  Lalgudi.  Inspired  by  a  Swamiji,  he  took 
to  asceticism  and  set  up  an  ashram  at  picturesque  Kallidaikurichi  on  the  banks 
of  Tambraparni  praised  by  Muthuswami  Dikshitar  in  his  song  Sri  Kantimatim 
(Desi  Simharava  raga)>  as  Suddha  Tamraparni.  An  anguished  mother  went,  got 
his  release  and  brought  him  back  to  family  life,  In  an  old  photo,  Lalgudi 
Radhakrishna  Ayyar  shares  the  stage  with  his  violin  on  play  along  with  Maha 
Vaidyanatha  Ayyar,  Patnam  Subramania  Ayyar  and  Poochi  Srinivasa  Ayyangar 
(all  vocalists),  Tanjore  Narayanaswami  Appa  with  his  mridangam  and 
Umayalpuram  Narayanaier  with  his  ghatam.  That  shows  his  rank. 

T.K.  RADHAKRISHNAN  -  FLAUTIST;  (b.  July  14, 1919) 

Father  T.G.  Krishna  Ayyar  was  the  author  of  'Lalitha  Dasar  Kirthanas'  and 
mother  was  Annapurani  Ammal.  Bom  in  a  musical  family,  Radhakrishnan  had 
his  training  in  flute  with  the  famous  Palladam  Sanjeeva  Rao  and  theory  under 
his  grandfather  T.A.  Krishna  Bhagavatar.  For  his  concerts,  Radhakrishnan  had 
been  accompanied  by  eminent  violinists  like  T.  Chowdiah,  Rajamanickam  Pillai, 
Govindaraja  Pillai  and  Pappa  Venkataramiah.  The  flautist  was  honoured  with 
the  title  of  'Kalaimamani'  by  the  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram  in  1978. 

RADHA  VISWANATHAN  -  VOCALIST:  (b.  Deer  15,1934) 

Flower  and  fragrance,  word  and  its  meaning  and  several  such  combinations 
are  noticed  for  harmonious,  homogenious  blending  of  two  in  one.  It  is  so  with 
Radha  Viswanathan,  the  Yamuna  which  merges  and  dissolves  its  musical 
talents  in  the  melodic  Ganges  of  Prof.  M.S.  SubbuIakshmL  The  tendril  revolves 
around  the  stem  but  retains  its  identity.  In  Radha's  case,  it  is  Jeevathma  joining 
the  Paramathma  -  two  voices  in  total  absolute  blend  rendering  melody  more 
melodious.  At  Dhanushkodi  or  Kanyakumari,  the  Bay  of  Bengal  meets  the  Indian 


composite  whole.  The  dissolved  sugar  can  be  separated  but  the  dissolved 
rendition  of  Radha "does  not  lend  itself  to  this  process.  That  is  its  intrinsic  merit! 
Daughter  of  Sadasivam,  she  could  not  have  wished  for  a  better  exposure  to  art 
and  music.  Music  made  her  home  its  favourite  prime  abode  and  so  Radha  had 
minimum  need  for  formal  training  in  the  usual  sense  of  the  term.  Do  fisher  boys 
attend  swimming  classes? 

T.R.  Balasubramaniam  gave  her  some  lessons  while  Ramnad  Krishnan  and 
Mayavaram  Krishna  Ayyar  taught  her  a  little.  Step-mother  M.S.  Subbulakshmi 
and  Radha  jointly  learnt  padas  from  T.  Brinda  and  kritis  from  Semmangudi 
Dr.  Srsnivasa  Ayyar.  The  school  of  Musiri  Subramania  Ayyar  lent  some  training. 
The  step  mother's  influence  was  so  affluent  that  Radha  was  quite  soon  an 
accomplished  vocalist  More  than  for  her  solo  concerts,  Radha  is  known  much 
as  the  voice-support  of  M.S.  Subbulakshmi.  The  mutual  affection  and  love  and 
the  unique  exposure  of  Radha  from  childhood  to  the  music  of  M.S.S.  so  shaped 
the  music  of  the  two  that  it  came  to  be  the  glory  of  Classical  Carnatic  music.  To 
the  accustomed  eye,  MSS  without  Radha  looked  like  Saraswati  without  veena. 
Radha  learnt  bharata  natyam  also  from  Vazhuvur  Ramiah  Pillai  and  the 
'arangetram' was  in  1945. 

Radha  had  her  stint  srt-films  while  young  as  — 

six  year  old  Bharata  in  M.S.S.'  "Sakuntala"  and  as 
baby  Meera  in  M.S.S. musical  extravaganza  "Meera11. 

Radha  fell  ill  seriously  and  had  a  miraculous  recovery,  Here  is  a  description 
by  Gowri  Ramnarayan  in  'Sruti'  on  a  benefit  performance  of  M.S.S.  on  March, 
12,  1983: 

Half  way  through  the  recital  the  unexpected  happens.  The  curtain  drops  -  in  the  midst 
of  a  Classical  Carnatic  Music  programme?  When  it  rises,  there  was  Radha/ 

It  was  her  first  appearance  after  her  illness  and  there  was  universal  welcome  to 
her  coming  back  to  the  concert  stage.  A  world  of  sympathy  was  with  her  aiding 
her  recovery. 

Dr.  V.  RAGHAVAN  -  EMINENT  MUSICOLOGIST:  (1908  - 1979) 

A  giant  among  musicological  sanskritists,  Dr.  V.  Raghavan's  contributions  in 
the  twin  fields  of  Sanskrit  and  Carnatic  music  are  substantial  and  immense. 
His  writings  cover  a  wide  spectra  and  the  output  is  not  only  classic  but 
authoritative.  He  edited  the  Journal  of  the  Music  Academy  from  1 935  to  1 979, 
the  souvenirs  of  the  Academy  Annual  Conferences  from  1943  to  1978  and  the 
Music  Academy  series  of  songs  in  notation,  etc,  The  bibliography  of  his 
published  works  cover; 


Books  and  Monographs  15 

Articles  on  Sangita  38 

Articles  on  Trinity  25 

Articles  on  Non-Trinity  Composers  28 

Articles  on  musical  instruments  21 

Articles  on  music,  dance  and  fine  arts  57 

An  aasu  kavi (spontaneous  composer),  his  original  compositions  include 
Sri  Ramanatha  Suprabhatam,  Meenakshi  Suprabhatam,  sabdas  and  kirtanas. 
The  Suprabhatams  are  noted  for  poetic,  vedantic  and  devotional  excellence  and 
he  wrote  an  entire  kavya  on  Muthuswami  Dikshitar  for  which  Sri  Sankaracharya 
of  Kanchi  awarded  the  title  of  'Kavi  Kokila1.  The  other  title  conferred  on  him  was 
}  Sakala  Kala  Kalapa'.  His  analysis  of  the  life  of  Tyagaraja  in  'The  Heritage  of 
Tyagaraja'ls  classic  and  could  scarcely  be  excelled  in  its  reach  and  depth. 

I  had  the  privilege  of  instituting  the  recitation  of  Sri  Ramanatha  Suprabhatam 
at  the  famous  symbol  of  emotional  and  spiritual  integration  of  India,  Sri 
Ramanathaswami  temple,  Rameswaram  in  1966  and  he  was  very  much 
pleased  at  that  and  'He'  too  should  have  approved  His  first  servant's  (the 
author's)  action. 

Dr.  Raghavan  was  a  Founder-Member  of  the  Music  Academy  and  played  a 
great  distinguished  role  in  its  development  and  in  the  deliberations  of  the  Experts 

PALGHAT  R.  RAGHU  -  MRIDANGAM  MAESTRO:  (b.Jany  9,  1928) 


Kerala  enjoys  the  privilege  with  Burma  (Myanmar)  of  producing  quality  teak 
and  the  Keralite  percussion  maestro,  Palghat  Raghu  was  born  at  Burma.  One 
of  the  top  mridangam  artistes,  Raghu  has  developed  a  distinct  style  of  his  own 
full  of  technical  excellence,  effortless  fingering  and  innovative  vibrancy  and 
display.  He  claims  that  his  training  initially  under  Tinniam  Venkatarama  Ayyar 
and  later  under  the  percussion  wizard  Palghat  Mani  endowed  him  with  the  rich 
artistic  heritage  left  behind  by  Tanjore  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar.  Raghu  is  a  respected 
mridangist  acknowledged  for  his  vibrant  dexterity  and  artistic  brilliance.  He  is  a 
Graduate  in  Mathematics.  Mathematics  and  music  have  close  consanguinity 
from  ancient  times. 

His  concert  tours  abroad  include  - 

U.K.  in  1960  at  the  invitation  of  Yehudi  Menuhin  to  participate  in  the  Bath  Festival; 

U.K.  in  1963  to  perform  at  the  Edinburgh  International  Festival; 

U.S.A.  in  1965  as  Visiting  Professor,  Wesleyan  University  when  he  gave  several 

concerts  with  Pandit  Ravi  Shankar  and  Ustad  Alia  Rakha  -  a  combination  of 

mridangam  and  tabla  for  sitar; 


U.S.A.,  Australia,  Singapore  and  Europe  either  for  teaching  or  for  concerts 
Honours  and  Titles: 

Sangeetha  Choodamani  by  Sri  Krishna  Gana  Sabha,  Madras 

Fellowship  of  Sangeet  Nataka  Academy,  Kerala  1 98O 

PaSghat  Mani  Ayyar  Award 

Sangeet  Natak  Akademy  Award 

Padma  Sri  by  the  President  of  India 

Mridanga  Chakravarti  by  Cleveland  Association 

Kalaimamani  by  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram 

B.S.  RAJA  AYYANGAR  -  VOCALIST:  (190o  -  198O) 

Sweet  melody,  pleasing  invigorating  voice  with  a  tinge  of  the  feminine  gnaoe 
and  felicity  in  rendition,  smooth  and  captivating  tempo,  measured  brikas  a.nd 
lakshya  predominance  qualified  the  singing  of  B.S.  Raja  Ayyangar.  His  voice 
traversed    the    upper   octave    with    elegant    ease    and    timbre.    His    dlso 
lJagadoddharana'was  the  rage  of  the  thirties  and  even  the  hurrying  feet  paused 
for  a  few  moments  to  catch  a  glimpse  of  the  captivating  music.  If  S.G.  Kittappa 
electrified  the  dramatic  stage  in  Tamil  Nadu,  Raja  Ayyangar  did  the  like  of  it  on 
the  concert  stage.    ' Ksheerasagara'  (Devagandhari)  was  another  favourite   of 

80171  at  :         Banavar  village  in  Arisikere  district  in  Karnataka 

Initial  training  he  had  with  his  maternal  uncle  and  then  joined  the  dramatic 
company  of  Varadachari  of  Mysore  and  learnt  music  from  Harmonist  Cham  a 
Rao.  Popularity  crowned  him  soon  and  recognition  was  quick  to  reach  him    He 
had  a  round  of  advanced  training  under  K.V.  Srinivasa  Ayyangar  of  the  Tiger 
Brothers.  Made  his  debut  at  Egmore,  (Was  it  at  the  Jagannatha  Bakta  Sabha?) 
He  had  the  distinction  of  singing  at  the  Akhil  Bharath  Sangeet  Sammelan 
Madras  in  1927  which  was  a  landmark  in  the  annals  of  Indian  Music.  For  three 
decades  he  held  his  high  stature  and  won  many  laurels  having  made  his  entry 
at  the   Travancore  Palace  in  1924,  at  the  Mysore  Palace  in  1928,  the  Music 
Academy  in  1932,  and  distant  Karachi  in  1 936. 

Honours  and  Titles: 

Many  medals 

State  Sangeet  Natak  Academy  Award  1 967 

Karnataka  Gana  Kala  Parishat  -  Gana  Kala  Bhooshana  in  1 970 

Gana  Kala  Nidhi  and  other  titles. 

He  has  donned  the  role  of  Narada  in  the  film  'Satya  Harischandra'. 
Disc  recordings. 

*     *     * 


V.  RAJKUMAR  BHARATI  -  VIOLINIST:  (b.  June  24,  1958) 

Parents  :          RS.V  Subramanian  and  Lalitha  Bharati 

General  Qualification  :          B:E.  (Electronics  &  Communication) 

Musical  training  under:          Initially  his  mother, 

Valliyur  Gurumurthy  - 12  years 

Dr.  Balamurali  Krishna  -  2  years 

T.V.  Gopalakrishnan  during  the  last  ten  years  - 

both  Carnatic  classical  and  Hindustani  classical. 

Debut  :          1 974  for  a  marriage 

1 976  Indian  Fine  Arts  Society,  Madras. 

Rajkumar  Bharati  is  a  popular  artiste  who  commands  a  rich,  vibrant  voice 
and  graceful  rendition.  He  brings  out  a  rich  crop  of  gamakas  and  embellishments 
in  his  rendition.  Has  given  about  seven  hundred  concerts  on  the  All  India  Radio, 
Doordarshan  and  sabhas.  Has  been  accompanied  by  distinguished  violinists 
and  percussionists.  He  expresses  his  gratitude  to  T.V.  Gopalakrishnan,  his  guru, 
for  the  immense  interest  taken  by  him  in  his  progress. 

Concert  tours:  USA,  UK,  Singapore  and  Malaysia. 

Honours:  Asthana  Vidwan,  Shri  Datta  Peetam,  Mysore. 

Disc  recordings:  (Devotional  and  light  classical). 

Rajkumar  Bharati  is  the  great  grandson  of  the  immortal  National  Poet, 
Subramanya  Bharati  and  like  his  illustrious  ancestor,  he  quit  his  job,  not  for 
politics  (since  India  is  independent  and  there  is  no  struggle  for  its  libertion),  but 
to  devote  his  time  and  energy  to  promote  the  welfare  and  culture  of  mankind. 

Prof.  RAJALAKSHMI  NARAYANAN  -  VEENA  ARTISTE:        (b.Aug.31 ,  1 928) 

Master  of  Arts  in  Indian  Music  with  special  diploma  in  music,  Rajalakshmi 
Narayanan  has  been  giving  veena  and  vocal  concerts  on  the  All  India  Radio  and 
elsewhere  and  demonstrations  at  seminars.  A  number  of  students  from  America 
have  been  specially  trained  by  her  in  veena.  She  is  Professor  in  Veena  at  the 
Government  Carnatic  Music  Training  Centre,  Madras. 

*     * 

RAJALAKSHMI  RAGHAVAN  -  VEENA  ARTISTE:          (b.  February  25, 1942) 

World  War  II  was  on.  The  Japanese  were  advancing  towards  India.  Just 
within  a  week  or  two,  Madras  was  to  be  bombed.  Thousands  of  families  had 
evacuated  Madras  for  rural  centres.  Tanjore  was  then  humming  with 
local  people  and  the  fresh  arrivals.  Rajalakshmi  Raghavan  was  then 
born  at  Tanjore.  Mother  had  been  trained  by  Veena  Seshanna  of 


Mysore.  Her  sisters  are  all  well  trained  and  two  of  them  were  giving 

Rajalakshmi  joined  the  Central  College  of  Carnatic  Music  in  1961-  62  and 
had  her  veena-main  under  the  renowned  Devakottas  A.  Narayana  Ayyangar. 
She  got  the  diploma  securing  the  first  rank.  Had  taken  the  Teachers'  Training 

Was    veena   teacher    at    the    Tiruvaiyaru    Government    Music    College 

(1 965-1 980)  and  is  Lecturer  in  Veena  at  the  Government  Music  College,  Madura! 
since  1980.  She  has  given  numerous  concerts  on  the  All  India  Radio,  sabhas, 
etc.  and  has  been  celebrating  Tyagaraja  Aradhana  on  a  lavish  scale  at  Madurai. 


Rajalakshmi  Thirunarayanan  hails  from  a  family  of  musicians  of  Mysore. 
Had  taken  the  Master's  Degree  in  Music  in  1967  from  the  Mysore  University. 
She  is  a  Lecturer  in  the  Bangalore  University,  Had  undergone  training  with 
V.  Venkatagsri,  Lalgudi  Jayaraman  and  Prof.  R.N.  Doreswamy,  having  started 
her  training  at  the  early  age  of  seven.  She  has  been  giving  concerts  for 
Doordarshan,  All  India  Radio  and  others.  Has  authored  the  book  'Music 
Theory',  a  text  for  the  Senior  Grade  Music  Examination  in  Karnataka. 


(1900 -Deer.  27,  1971) 

Place  of  birth  :          Kurumbal  near  Tiruvarur 

Name  of  father  :          Swaminatha  Ayyar. 

Percussion  training     :          Ghatam  under  Talagnayar  Gopaia  Ayyar  & 

Kodimangalam  Narayanaswami  Ayyar 
Mridangam  under  Tiruvarur  Kuppanna  Rao 

Rajagopala  Ayyar  started  with  ghatam  and  moved  over  to  mridangam.  Had 
worked  as  teacher  for  mridangam  at  the  Kalakshetra  and  at  the  Music  Trinity 
Sabha,  Tiruvarur.  He  was  doing  'Nadopasana*  playing  on  mridangam  in  a  Radha 
Kalyana  Mahotsavam  when  he  died  in  harness  as  the  'haratf  was  being  shown. 
Tiruvarur  Nagarajan,  his  son,  plays  mridangam  and  kanjira. 

R.A.  RAJAGOPALAN  -  PERCUSSIONIST:  (b.December  20,  1952) 

Place  of  birth  :          Bangalore 

Parents  :          Father  R.A.  Krishnamacharya,  Retired  Professor, 

Sanskrit  College,  Bangalore  and  a  Harikatha  Vidwan 


and  mother  RARajalakshmi. 

Training  :          Training  in  mridangam  under  T.A.S.  Mani,  Karnataka 

College  of  Percussion,  Bangalore  and  subsequently  in 

Rajagopalan  made  his  debut  in  1968  at  Bangalore  and  has  been  providing 
accompaniment  to  leading  vidwans  mainly  in  ghatam.  Now  he  is  Staff  Artiste, 
All  India  Radio,  Bangalore. 

Concert  tours: 

With  Taia  Taranginf  of  T.A.S.  Mani  and  with  his  sister-vocalist, 
R.A.  Ramamani. 

Disc  recordings* 

*     *     * 

S.  RAJAM  -  MUSICIAN  &  ARTIST:  (b.Feforuary  10,  1919) 

The  Musician: 

1984  February  -  Ettayapuram  -  Muthuswami  Dikshitar  Aradhana.  It  is  well 
known  that  Dikshitar  in  his  Anandamrutha  Karshini  in  raga  Amruthavarshini 
appealed  to  Arnruteswari  for  instant  rains  (Varshaya,  Varshaya)  and  brought 
copious  rains  to  the  rain-fed  but  rain-starved,  black-cotton,  flat  terrain  in  and 
around  Ettayapuram  during  his  last  journey.  February  is  the  beginning  of 
summer  when  the  Aradhana  Festival  is  held.  S.  Rajam  sang  the  Dikshitar  song 
with  devotion  at  10  a.m.  and  was  taken  to  Tirunelveli  by  the  Collector  for  lunch. 
When  he  returned  at  about  4  p.m.,  lo!  the  pandal  was  not  there  and  Ettayapuram 
stood  soaked  in  torrential  rains.  The  pandal  had  been  blown  off  during  the 
cyclonic  rains  at  noon.  Rajam  merely  invoked  the  grace  of  Dikshitar  but  the 
Rain-God  took  it  as  an  invocation  from  Dikshitar  himself  and  true  to  the  spirit  of 
the  song  came  down  to  the  delight  of  farmers  and  the  dismay  of  organisers  and 

Rajam's  Raga  Lakshana  columns  in  magazine  'Sruti'  is  a  distinct  piece  of 
comprehensive  elucidation  of  individual  ragas. 

The  Actor: 

'Sita  Kalyanam1  was  perhaps  the  third  talkie  in  Tamil.  Rajam  (1 4)  was  the 
Prince  Charming  who  took  sister  Jayalakshmi  (12)  as  spouse  in  the  film.  The 
brother-sister  team  as  Rama  and  Sita  brought  forth  virulent  criticism  from 
orthodoxy:  but  at  many  places  people  went  crazy  and  honoured  the  boy  and  the 
girl  with  coco  and  camphor  offerings  as  if  the  Lord  Himself  had  come  down  with 
his  divine  consort.  Rajam  -  Jayaiakshmi  were  either  too  young  to  understand 
the  protests  or  sang  - 

"Oh  Ramachandra  !  Why  should  we  feel  any  concern  ,  when  you  hold  in 
your  hands  the  leading  strings  of  all  the  dolls  in  the  drama  you  conduct?" 
( Makelara  Vicharamu-  Ravichandrika) 


His  second  sister  acted  as  Urmila.  Advocate  -  Father  Sundaram  Ayyar  was 
Janaka  -  probably  fed  up  being  a  father  at  home!  Veena  Balachander,  the  child 
prodigy,  performed  on  the  kanjira  in  the  Court  of  the  great  Ravana! 
G.K.  Seshagiri  Ayyar,  music  enthusiast  was  Ravana, 

The  Artiste 

Rajarn's  mother  was  the  inspiration.  Surgical  supremo  Dr.  Rangachari's 
scholarship  enabled  Rajam  to  undergo  the  full  course  at  the  School  of  Arts, 
Madras.  If  Ravi  Varma  planted  the  figures  of  Goddesses  Lakshmi  and  Saraswati 
in  the  minds  of  millions  of  Indians  in  the  farthest  corners  of  the  globe,  Rajam 
achieved  a  like  success  in  the  micro  field  of  Carnatic  music  with  his  inimitable 
drawings  of  the  Carnatic  Trinity,  if  Musiri  Subramania  Ayyar,  Madurai  Man! 
Ayyar,  T.N.  Rajarathinam,  S.G.  Kittappa  and  K.B.  Sundarambal  had  patented 
their  memorable  styles  of  rendition,  Rajam  has  patented  his  portraits  of  the 
Trinity.  On  the  integrity  of  his  drawings,  he  says; 

'I  got  a  photo  of  the  picture  of  Tyagaraja  available  with  the  Tanjore  Palace  in 
1940,  took  a  copy  of  the  picture  of  Dikshitar  from  Veena  Sundaram  Ayyar  of  the 
line  of  disciples  of  Dikshitar  and  a  copy  of  the  picture  of  Sastri  from  his 
descendants.  I  took  into  account  their  individual  characteristics  and  life-styles 
as  reflected  in  their  kritis  and  clarified  to  me  by  U.Rama  Rao,  TV.  Subba  Rao, 
K.  Chandrasekharan  and  T.L  Venkatarama  Ayyar.  I  made  some  changes  to 
answer  to  the  genuine  expectations  of  music-  lovers  and  knowledgeable  experts 
consistent  with  the  genius  of  the  great  composers  and  provided  them  with  a 
tambur  or  a  veena.  The  drawings  have  stood  the  test  of  time.'  Rajam  is  virtually 
Brahma  II  indeed  !  Vide  page  220  'A  Garland'  for  other  details. 


(b.  July  15,1927) 

Bom  at  :          Nachiarkoil  near  Kumbakonam 

of  :          Kanniah  Pillai  and  Chellammal. 

Training  :          under  his  father  along  with  his  brother  Duraikannu. 

Post  held  :          Nagaswara  Master  at  the  Rajah's  College  of  Music, 


He  has  appeared  in  the  film  'Raja  Bhakti'  playing  nagaswaram  and  has 
given  discs.  Shaik  Chinna  Moulana  is  his  disciple. 

Titles  &  Honours:        :          Narada  Gana 


Kalaimamani  from  the  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka 

Mandram  in  1 979, 

Concert  tour  :          Sri  Lanka 


Note:  Month  and  year  of  birth  are  given  as  March  1 917  in  'Who's  Who'. 

*     *     * 

D.S.  RAJAPPA  -  MRIDANGIST:  (b.  April  29,  1924) 

Place  of  birth  :          Sudiyur  near  Paramakudi. 

Parents  :          Dorairaj  &  Lilli  Ranjithammal. 

Claims  heredity  from  the  historic  chieftains  Peria  Marudu  and  Chmna 
Marudu  of  Sivagangai  Seemai.  Has  been  taking  part  in  dramatic  troupes  like 
Chitra  Thevar's  Boys'  Dramatic  Company.  As  his  voice  failed,  he  took  to  training 
in  mridangam  under  the  famous  Kalaimamani  C.S.  Sankarasivam.  After  seven 
years'  apprenticeship,  he  has  been  providing  accompaniment  at  concerts  and 
dramas.  Is  Asthana  vidwan  with  Tirunelveli  Madalaya.  Was  Secretary,  Tamil 
Nadu  Nataka  Sangham. 

Titles  ;          Kalaimamani  from  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka 

Mandram  (1974-75) 

Sukhanadhalayamani  from  Karnataka  Isai  Sangh  (1984) 

D.S.  Rajappa  has  been  providing  accompaniment  and  solo  too  for  the  All 
India  Radio. 

3.  RAJARAM  -  PERCUSSIONIST  &  PEDAGOGUE:         (b.January  30,  1925) 

A  grandson  of  the  celebrated  Mysore  Vasudevacharya,  Rajaram  is  Principal 
>f  the  prestigious  College  of  Fine  Arts,  Kalakshetra  founded  by  Rukmini  Devi 
Krundale  since  1 984.  Rajaram  started  his  career  as  Staff  Artiste  in  the  All  India 
Radio  for  mridangam  and  jalatarangam  and  went  up  the  ladder  to  become  the 
)irector  of  Programmes  (  Music)  and  Senior  Station  Director.  Retired  in  1983 
is  Station  Director,  AIR,  Hyderabad. 

He  learnt  music  under  his  grandfather  and  mridangam  under  Vidwan  Mysore 
).  Seshappa.  He  takes  special  classes  on  the  compositions  of  his  grandfather 
3  students.  He  had  assisted  Vasudevacharya  in  composing  music  for  the 
lamayana  Dance-  Drama  choreographed  and  produced  by  Rukmini  Devi.  He 
las  himself  composed  music  for  the  four  dance-dramas  produced  by 

Choodamani  Pradanam, 
Bakta  Jayadeva, 
Maha  Pattabhishekarn  and 
Kama  Sabatham. 

The  family  trait  of  composing  naturally  has  been  inherited  by  him.  A  hundred 
ritis  in  Sanskrit  and  telugu  have  been  got  up  by  him.  It  is  a  feature  of  his  life 


that  he  enjoys  the  good  fortune  of  being  born  in  an  environment  of  music  and 
live  a  life  of  elegance  amidst  sweet  melody  first  with  the  All  India  Radio  and  now 
at  the  Kalakshetra!  No  wonder  he  is  a  soft-  spoken  gentleman  -  artiste. 


-.Many  a  flower  is  born  to  blush  unseen,  said  Poet  Gray.  But  he  forgot  the 
flowers  which  blush  tantalizingly  but  vanish  the  next  morn  as  the  veil  of  the  night 
is  lifted.  A  tragedy  -  a  Shakespearian  tragedy  it  is.  She  was  danseuse, 
jalatarangam  player  and  vocalist.  She  was  just  eight  years  old  and  her  dance 
was  so  enthralling  and  bewitching  that  the  Rajah  of  Ramnad  did 
kanakabhishekam  to  that  prodigy!  (Kanakabhishekam  -  symbolic  shower  of 
golden  leaves  is  a  rare  event  reserved  for  the  most  deserving  alone.)  In  her 
ninth  year,  she  left  off  dance  and  concentrated  on  music  and  like  the  delightful 
tropical  sun,  she  was  at  the  top  and  it  was  all  glorious  sunlight  and  no  twilight. 
Stalwarts  Simizhi  Sundaram  Ayyar  and  Subbier  were  her  gurus  and  she  had 
advanced  training  under  Mudicondan  Venkatarama  Ayyar.  The  latter  had  such 
solicitude  and  appreciation  for  his  ward's  musical  acumen  and  expositive 
wisdom  that  he  himself  provided  kanjira  support  at  one  of  her  concerts  in  those 
days  of  male  chauvinism!  Her  image,  popularity  and  music  were  so  spectacular 
and  the  demand  for  her  concerts  was  so  heavy,  that  normally  there  would  be 
her  vocal  concert  on  the  first  day  and  her  jalatarangam  concert  on  the 
succeeding  day  usually.  She  was  of  a  dignified  type  of  musician  and  sang  in 
four  kalais  in  brika-laden  and  soul-charged  voice.  Her  mesmerising  artistic  life 
lasted  just  a  decade  and  a  half  and  she  died  when  she  was  at  the  apogee  of  her 
glory;  and  when  she  died,  M.S.  Subbulakshmi  was  just  nine  years  and  there  was 
none  to  ascend  the  'gadi'  rendered  vacant.  The  voice  that  could  elevate  the 
audience  to  climactic  raptures  came  to  be  silenced  so  abruptly. 

T.  Sankaran  confirms  the  popularity  and  the  gargantuan  image  of  Rajayee 

11  The  tiny  Tiruvarur  Rajayee  scored  everything  because  of  her  sweet 
tone  (kokilagana?).  She  was  a  soft-voiced  crony.  But  in  popularity,  we 
may  call  her  the  'M.S.1  of  her  times.  At  the  age  of  eight  or  nine,  she  was 
the  recipient  of  Kanakabhishekam!  Later  N.C.  Vasantakokilam  shot 
into  fame  with  her  dulcet  voice  and  cinema  background. " 

Venkatarama  Ayyar  and  Dhanyan  have  all  spoken  of  her  in  superlative 
terms.  It  is  unfortunate  that  the  jewel  and  gem  was  lost  while  so  tender.  Art ! 
How  immense  is  thy  composure  to  bear  such  tragedies  and  how  verdant  virility 
is  thine  that  you  bring  forth  successive  crops  of  genius. 



The  fertility  of  the  soil,  the  interminable  expanse  of  evergreen  fields  and 
gardens  forming  as  it  were  a  green  carpet  of  immense  dimensions,  the  divine 
calm  that  pervades  and  the  location  of  the  village  close  to  the  mother  of  a  rich 
civilisation,  River  Cauvery  enabled  the  innate  genius  of  the  people  to  pursue 
spiritual  and  artistic  ways  of  life.  Far  from  the  madding  crowds,  their  sober 
wishes  never  strayed.  J. R.D.Tata  once  said, 

'When  f  went  into  business  in  1925,  there  was  no  corruption  for  the  simple  reason 
that  there  was  nobody  to  corrupt  and  there  was  nobody  to  ask.' 

Even  so,  the  village  of  Sri  Tapastirthapura,  also  called  Bhairavi  Vana,  shed  its 
radiant  rays  of  culture  and  revelled  in  noble  pursuits  and  artistic  advents. 
Lalgudi,  its  present  name,  was  probably  derived  from  the  red  tower  of  the  temple. 
tn  tune  with  its  puranic  heritage,  the  deity  in  the  temple  is  called  Saptarishiswara. 

Lalgudi  Rama  Ayyar,  son  of  Srinivasa  Ayyar  exhibited  musical  potential  and 
was  sent  for  a  ten-year  gurukulavasa  in  the  Swayambu  -  that  which  came  on 
its  own  -  University  of  the  most  popular  of  the  Trinity,  Tyagaraja  at  Tiruvaiyaru. 
On  completion,  he  was  doing  bhajans  at  Lalgudi  since  the  fundamental  goal  of 
music  then  was  devotional.  When  Tyagarajah  was  at  Srirangam,  Rama  Ayyar 
invited  him  to  his  place,  a  Siva  kshetra.  The  sage-composer,  as  he  did  in  respect 
of  another  disciple,  Tiruvottiyur  Veena  Kuppa  Ayyar,  responded  and  was  with 
Rama  Ayyar  at  Lalgudi  for  some  days.  Inspired  by  the  darshan  of  the  Lord  and 
enthralled  by  the  beauty  of  the  temple  and  the  serene  environment,  Tyagaraja 
gave  vent  to  his  feelings  in  five  songs  now  called  the  'Lalgudi  Pancharatnam'. 
Later  Rama  Ayyar  went  to  Mysore  on  the  invitation  of  Mummadi  Krishna  Raja 
Wodeyar,  the  celebrated  patron  of  arts  and  artistes.  He  became  Asthana  Vidwan 
and  earned  the  honorific  'Pallavi  Rama  Ayyar'.  Valadi  Radhakrishna  Ayyar  and 
Guruswami  Ayyar,  his  sons  were  musicians. 

The  good  musician's  first  son  Guruswami  Ayyar  was  a  good  vocalist  and 

ghatam    artiste,    the    second    son    was    Radhakrishnayyar    and    the    third, 

Rangaswami  was  a  pupil  of  AudanurSubbayya  of  Srirangam,  a  vocalist,  violinist 

-and  swarabat  player  besides  being  a  composer  of  varnarns  and  kritis,  according 

to  T.C.A.  Chinna  Singaracharyulu. 

CHIKKA  RAMA  RAO  -  VOCALIST:  (1 892  - 1 946) 

Place  of  birth  :          Kurudi  (Shimoga) 

Name  of  father  :          Subba  Rac,  a  Police  Offcial. 

Musical  training  under ;         Sangeetha  Vidya  Kanteerava  Karigiri  Rao  and 

Bakshi  Subbanna. 


Karigiri  Rao  had  many  students  bearing  the  same  name  of  Rama  Rao  and 
so  he  called  this  disciple  'Chikka'  and  it  stuck  to  his  name  to  the  last.  Rama  Rao 
enjoyed  a  sweet  voice  and  was  an  asset  to  his  guru,  Bakshi  Subbanna,  who 
told  Veena  Seshanna  - 

1  Seshanna  you  may  think  that  you  are  great  because  of  your  nimble  fingers  dancing  on 
the  frets  of  the  veena.  Please  note  that  I  am  a  grade  higher  than  you  as  !  have  the 
sweet  voice  of  Chikka  in  addition.' 

Ettayapuram  Ramachandra  Bhagavatar  too  should  have  thought  so  when 
Pushpavanam  joined  as  a  pupil.  Even  as  a  boy,  Rama  Rao  had  a  heavy 
repertoire  of  devarnamas.  The  sweet  voice  evoked  sympathetic  response  from 
the  Dawager  Maharani  who  got  him  appointed  as  a  Court  Vidwan  and  he  was 
later  placed  in  the  Palace  Orchestra.  Got  tuitions  in  Western  music  and 
jalatarangam.  Eminent  artistes  like  Poochi  Srinivasa  Ayyangar  and  Pudukottai 
Dakshinamoorti  Pillai  had  high  praise  for  his  music.  Patnam  Subramania  Ayyar 
too  had  taught  him  kritis.  Apart  from  his  matchless  voice,  Rao  was  a  laya 
expert  too. 

Disciples  :          A.  Subba  Rao,  Arakere  Narayana  Rao,  B.V.K.  Sastri, 

Compositions  :         swarajatis,  varnams  and  kritis. 

Titles  &  Honours         :         Sangita  Ratna  -  Maharajah  of  Mysore  in  1938. 

Gayanacharya  -  Sri  Rama  Bhajan  Sabha,  Malleswaram. 

His  keen  insight  as  a  teacher  is  reflected  in  the  following  anecdote: 

A.  Subba  Rao  was  practising  the  Saramati  piece  Mokshamu  Galada.  He 
was  elaborating  the  phrase  Vina  Vadhana  Loludow.  Rama  Rao  remarked 
'Bhale'  twice  and  the  pupil  enquired  whether  his  rendition  was  defective.  Said 
Rama  Rao,  You  have  failed  to  produce  the  Veena  Vadhana  quality  in  your 
voice.  Devote  time  to  voice  culture'.  Such  was  his  implicit  faith  not  only  in  the 
quality  of  the  rendition  but  his  insistence  to  bring  out  the  ethos  of  the  text, 


Mridangam  was  no  stranger  to  his  family.  Grandfather  Krishna  Ayyar  and 
father  Sami  Ayyar  -  both  of  Mylattur  -  were  mridanga  vidwans.  At  the  age  of 
nine,  Mylattur  Ramachandran,  who  had  his  training  under  his  father,  had  played 
for  Palladam  Sanjeeva  Rao,  the  renowned  flautist  at  the  Tyagaraja  Aradhana, 
Tiruvaiyaru.  In  1940,  he  accompanied  Chembai  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar  on  the 
AH  India  Radio  in  his  first  programme  on  the  air.  For  over  five  decades  he  has 
been  giving  accompaniment  to  most  of  the  prominent  musicians.  Ramachandran 
has  a  special  word  of  gratitude  for  Chembai  and  Chowdiah  for  the  interest  taken 
by  them  in  his  case.  He  had  accompanied  Chowdiah  for  many  of  his  disc 


recordings.    Has    participated    in    National    Programmes    and    Sangeeth 
Sammelans  many  times. 

He  served  as  Staff  Artiste  in  All  India  Radio  during  1 965-1 985  at  Pondicherry 
and  for  sometime  earlier  at  Delhi  too. 

Title  ;          '  Mridanga  Medai '  by  Chembai  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar. 

Publication  :          '  Mridanga  Pada  Murai '. 

Mylattur  is  near  Palghat.  Ramachandran's  father-guru  Sami  Ayyar  was 
teacher  in  mridangam  in  the  Annamalai  University  and  was  a  'Kalaimamani' 
title-holder.  S.  Ramachandran  regrets  that  the  title  is  yet  to  be  given  to  him. 
Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram  may  consider. 


Ramachandra  Rao's  father,  Sangita  Ratna  Venkata  Rao  (1 875-1 969)  was  a 
famous  musician.  Ramachandra  Rao  was  born  at  Honasannahalli  in 
Gowribidanur  taluk  of  Kolar  district.  He  had  his  training  in  music  under  his  uncle 
Vidwan  Venkatachala  Ayya,  Bhaskara  Rao  and  Venkata  Dasappa.  He 
underwent  a  course  in  music  at  the  Annamalai  University.  He  enhanced  his 
musical  talents  by  having  special  training  with  Karur  Ramaswamy,  Pakka 
Hanumantachar,  Pallavi  Seshayya  and  Hangel  Chidambara  Ayyar.  Rao  has 
been  giving  concerts  from  his  boyhood.  Dr.  Sampathkumaracharya  hails  him 
as  a  Maha  Vidwan,  popular  and  famous  and  says  that  people  would  sit 
enchanted  at  his  concerts.  Has  been  honoured  by  Mysore  and  other  Courts. 
Enjoyed  a  pleasing  'uttama'  sareeram  (voice);  an  expert  in  rendition  of  pallavi. 
Noted  for  clarity  of  rendition. 

Title  and  Honours       :          Sangita  Ratna  by  Mysore  Palace 

Mysore  State  Sangita  Academy  Award 

B.  RAMADASAPPA  -  NAG  AS  WARA  ARTISTE:  (20th  Cent) 

Son  and  disciple  of  Chikka  Munuswamiappa,  a  nagaswara  vidwan, 
Ramadasappa  made  his  debut  at  the  age  of  ten  accompanying  his  father  and 
soon  rose  in  stature  to  the  top.  The  Academy  of  Music,  Bangalore,  while 
conferring  the  State  Level  Chowdiah  Memorial  Award  on  him  stated: 

1  His  fidelity  in  the  rendition  of  popular  compositions  in  the  Carnatic  genre  has  won  him 
admirers...  a  competent  concert  artiste.  He  has  figured  in  the  programmes  of  every 
sabha  in  the  State.. .his  nagaswara  heralds  the  inauguration  of  many  a  music  festival.1 

Honours  &  Titles:  Gana  Kalanidhi  and  Asthana  Vidwan,  by 

H.H.Sankaracharya,  Sringeri  Mutt. 


Nagaswara  Mani  from  H.H.  the  Sankaracharya 
of  the  Kanchi  Mutt 

Rajyotsava  Award,  1990. 

Chowdlah  Memorial  (State  Level)  Award  1 992. 

For  his  nagaswara  concerts,  he  has  been  using  violin  and  mridangarn  for 
accompaniment  presumably  drawing  inspiration  from  T.N.Rajarathinam.  , 

TANJORE  RAMADOSS  RAO  -  MRIDANGAM  ARTISTE:     (b.  April  2, 1889  -) 

Son  of  Subba  Rao  and  Lakshmi  Bai,  Ramadoss  Rao  learnt  mridangarn  under 
Tanjore  Balu  Rao.  Initially  he  was  playing  for  musical  discourses  and  later  for 
all  artistes.  Was  Professor  of  Mridangam,  College  of  Music,  Annamalai 
University.  The  Music  Academy,  Madras  honoured  him  with  a  Certificate  of  Merit 
in  1959.  Rao  enjoyed  a  wide  practice  in  concerts. 

Once  Kanchipuram  Naina  Pillai  with  Konnakol  Mannargudi  Pakkiria  Pillai 
.attended  a  festival  at  Mannargudi  where  Tirupazhanam  Panchapakesa  Sastri 
was  giving  a  musical  discourse.  Naina  Pillai  was  delighted  to  hear  the 
mridangam  play  of  Ramadoss  Rao  and  wanted  to  engage  Rao  for  his  concerts. 
Rao  felt  diffident  and  unnoticed  left  for  Tanjore.  One  year  later,  Naina  Pillai  and 
Pudukottai  Dakshinamurti  Pillai  went  over  to  Tanjore  and  presseld  him  to  play 
for  Naina  Pillai's  concerts,  which  he  reluctantly  accepted.  Dakshinamurti  Pillai 
later  described  that  combination  thus  : 

'  Taunting  swaras  from  the  masculine  voice  of  Naina  to  the  sweet  accompaniment  of 
Rao's  mridangam  which  always  sprinkles  rose  water!' 

Rao  got  into  the  regiment,  the  full  bench,  the  magistrate's  court  as  Pillai's 
concerts  were  variously  called.  B.M.  Sundaram  states  that  for  sixty-three  Pillai's 
concerts,  Ramadoss  Rao  had  provided  mridangam  accompaniment,  A  'Kapil 
Dev'  achievement  indeed  for  those  distant  times  when  opportunity  was  scarce. 
(Number  63,  incidentally,  represents  the  strength  of  Saivite  Apostles 
(Nayanmars) . 

Dr.  T.S.  RAMAKRISHNAN  -  VAINIKA/MUSICOLOGIST:          (b.August  1902) 

The  Journals  of  the  Music  Academy  bear  extensive  proof  of  the  vast 
erudition,  meaningful  research  and  sustained  pursuit  and  efforts  in  the  cause 
of  Classical  music  of  Dr.  T.S.  Ramakrishnan,  son  of  Srinivasamurti.  He  had  his 
training  in  vocal  and  veena  under  his  father.  His  remote  ancestors  are  stated 
to  have  lived  in  Mysore  and  Poona  and  secured  the  surname  of  'Sarasval'.  Has 
served  in  Sri  Lanka  and  in  the  Corporation  of  Madras  till  1975. 


From  some  of  the  papers  read  by  him  at  the  Academy,  it  is  seen  that  the 
eminent  Mazhavarayanendal  Subbarama  Bhagavatar  had  kept  a  notebook 
containing  a  record  of  72  melas  and  1 758  janya  ragas  with  the  arohana  and  the 
avarohana  of  each,  besides  30  varnas  (19  of  them  rare)  and  16  tamil  padas  of 
Mazhavai  Chidambara  Bharati  and  that  'Sangita  Kaumudi"  of  Tiruvaiyaru 
Subramania  Ayyar  too  contains  a  similar  list  of  janya  ragas.  T.S.  Ramakrishnan 
has  pointed  out  that  Nathamuni  Pandithar's  'Sangita  Swara  Prastara  Sagaram' 
contains  2014  janya  ragas  and  pleaded  for  an  inventory  of  all  the  janya  ragas 
giving  the  melas,  etc.  Some  janya  ragas  come  under  more  than  one  mela  raga. 
There  are  already  a  few  such  digests  as  desired  by  him.  Vide  Part  III.  The 
proposal  is  worth  attention. 

*     *     * 

VOCALIST  MAESTRO:  (December  15, 1883  -) 

'  A  brilliant  singer,  a  creative  artiste  of  high  degree  and  a  person  with  an  extensive  and 
varied  repertoire.  A  lakshana  lakshya  vidwan.  Unassuming,  good  natured,  he  has  set 
a  noble  example  of  an  ideal  musician.' 

—  Prof.  P.  Sambamurty  (1949). 

Manambuchavadi  Venkatasubba  Ayyar,  a  cousin  and  disciple  of  Tyagaraja 
trained  a  galaxy  of  disciples  including  the  'Five  Gems'.  Susarla  Dakshinamurti 
Sastri  of  Pedakallepalli,  one  of  the  disciples  returned  to  Andhra  Pradesh  and 
Parupalli  Ramakrishnayya  was  his  distinguished  disciple. 

Ramakrishnayya  was  born  at  Srikakulam,  of  Seshachalam  Pantulu  and 
Mangamrna  in  a  family  of  erudition  with  devotional  background.  In  accordance 
with  tradition,  Seshachalam  renounced  the  world  and  assumed  the  name 
Pradyumnananda  Saraswati.  In  1896,  Ramakrishnayya  was  sent  to 
Pedakallepalli  to  learn  accountancy  and  management  of  Thana  affairs.  Music 
lured  his  attention  and  in  1 898  he  started  his  musical  lessons.  He  overshadowed 
his  co-pupils  who  were  many.  In  1902  he  took  up  the  post  of  village  karnam 
(accountant)  of  Telugurayanipalem.  In  1906,  his  deputy  collector  (superior  in 
office  and  appointing  authority),  Baktavatsalam  Naidu  became  his  disciple  in 
music  -  to  pay  his  respects  as  a  disciple  while  learning  and  extract  them  back 
as  official  boss!  After  sometime,  Ramakrishnayya  returned  to  his  guru  and 
blossomed  into  an  expert  in  veena  and  violin. 

He  made  constant  visits  to  the  cultural  centres  of  the  South  and  by 
observation  and  contacts,  imbibed  the  features  and  styles  of  stalwarts  like 
Ramanathapuram  Srinivasa  Ayyangar,  Konerirajapuram  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar, 
Pushpavanam  and  Palghat  Anantarama  Bhagavatar.  His  contacts  with  musical 
discoursers  Mangudi  Chidambara  Bhagavatar  and  Panchapakesa  Bhagavatar 
and  instrumentalists  like  Tirukodikaval  Krishna  Avvar  and  rt 


Attended  the  All  India  Music  Conference  at  Baroda  in  1 91 6  and  came  back  with 
flying  colours.  Made  his  entry  into  Madras  at  Gokhale  Hall  with  Chowdiah, 
Azhaganambi  Pillai  and  Madras  Velayudham  Pillai  as  accompanists  in  the 
presence  of  the  elite  of  Madras  on  November  27,  1921.  Prof.  D.V.  Krishnaiah 

1  This  was  the  climax  of  the  test  of  the  country  to  crown  this  leader  of  music  movement 
with  the  highest  glory  that  fell  to  the  lot  of  any  artiste  in  this  forsaken  land  of  carping 
critics.  ' 

Ramakrishnayya  was  riding  the  crest  of  success  since  then  and  the  All  India 
Music  Conference,  Madras  in  1927  honoured  him.  He  was  in  the  midst  of  all 
high  musical  activity.  He  was  Chairman  of  the  Reception  Committee  of  the 
Fourth  Gayaka  Mahasabha.  The  Andhra  Research  University,  Vizianagaram 
gave  him  the  title  of  'Bharati  Tirthopadhyaya'.  The  Andhra  Saraswat  Parishad 
declared  him  'Gayaka  Sarvabhouma'  in  1931  thus  making  him  the  uncrowned 
king  of  the  world  of  classical  music. 

Pantulu  was  on  the  Experts  Committee  of  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  and 
the  Tyagabrahma  Mahotsava  Sabha  of  Tiruvaiyaru  and  was  Examiner,  Andhra 

Ramakrishnayya  enjoyed  a  grand  personality,  a  bold  and  melodious  voice 
and  his  rendition  was  appealing  and  captivating.  His  guru-poojas  were  music 
festivals,  grand  in  conception  and  cultured  in  execution  and  the  public 
responded  well  to  his  wishes  by  the  construction  of  a  music  hall,  starting  a  music 
school  and  consecration  of  a  Tyagarajah  idol.  Andhra  had,  perhaps,  the  first 
taste  of  a  Maha  Vidwan  in  him  and  basked  in  the  salubrious  sunshine  of 
Pantulu's  musical  eminence, 


(October  5,1823  -  January  30, 1874) 

An  Apostle  of  Universal  Religion  of  Peace,  Truth  and  Morality  (Samarasa 
Suddha  Satya  Sanmarga),  a  mystic  and  siddha  purusha,  the  Angel  of  Grace, 
Compassion  and  Solicitude  made  his  last  journey  from  the  mundane  world  in 
the  most  unique  manner  quite  in  accord  with  his  life  and  mission.  Hiranya 
obtained  various  boons  to  avoid  death  and  ultimately  all  was  in  vain,  Ramaiinga 
Swamigal,  popularly  known  as  'Vallalar',  is  the  beacon  who  demonstrated  to 
the  world  how  deathlessness  is  feasible.  His  body  was  consigned  neither  to  the 
earth  nor  to  flames.  His  individual  soul  (Jeevatma)  merged  and  dissolved  itself 
in  the  Universal  Soul,  the  Paramatma.  To  set  the  happening  on  firm  record  and 
free  from  doubts,  two  European  officers  of  the  Government  verified  the  total 
absence  of  any  mortal  remains  in  the  cottage  wherefrom  he  commenced  his 


celestial  journey!  He  entered  the  Eternal  Abode  of  Light  and  merged  in  the  Light 
Divine  (Arut  Perum  Jothi).  The  Flame  kindled  at  Vadalur  burns  perpetually  for 
the  salvation  of  Humanity.  (Such  a  light  is  said  to  burn  at  Shirdi  of  Sai  Baba 
also.  Vailalar's  departure  is  reminiscent  of  Manickavachakar's  at  Chidambaram 
close  to  Vadalur  itself.)  The  immortality  of  Vallalar  is  strictly  in  conformity  with 
the  scriptures. 

I  Na  cha  punaravarthathe 
Na  cha  punaravarthathe. ' 

(He  does  not  return; 

he  does  not  return.)  —  SRUTI. 

II  Mam  upetya  tu  Kaunteya 
Punarjanma  na  vidyate  . " 

(Attaining  Me,  there  is  no  rebirth.)  —  GITA  Vlil-16. 

'  Gacchanty  apunara  vrittim 
Jnananirdhuhtakalmashah. ' 

(Their  sins  being  completely  shaken  off  by 

Wisdom,  they  go  whence  there  is  no  return.)  -          —  GITA  V-1 7. 

Ramaiinga  Swamigal  was  no  abstract,  austere  yogi  who  buried  himself  in 
snow-clad  mountains  or  heavily  wooded  forests.  He  was  an  organiser  non 
pare/7.  He  established  the  Samarasa  Veda  Sanmarga  Sangham  in  1865.  The 
Abode  of  Siddhi  (Immortality)  and  the  Jyoti  are  for  public  good  and  open  to  all. 
The  second  is  the  Satya  Veda  Dharmasala,  a  free  kitchen  open  to  the  public  to 
quench  their  biological  hunger  with  a  view  to  prepare  them  for  spiritual  hunger 
and  mission,  spiritual  enquiry  (Vichara)  and  reach  the  Eternal  Abode,  even  as 
Upanishad  Brahman  did  at  Kanchipuram  and  declared  its  avowed  purpose  in 
clear  terms  -  Vide  'A  Garland'.  The  kitchen  was  started  in  1 867.  Siddhi  Valagam 
(1870)  and  Satya  Jnana  Sabha  (1872)  are  the  other  two  founded  by  him.  The 
range  and  objectives  of  the  institutions  started  by  Vallalar  reveal  his  depth  of 
vision  and  the  missionary  zeal  which  marked  his  organising  endeavours. 

Born  at  Marudur  near  Chidambaram,  of  Ramayya  Pillai  and  Chinna 
Arnmayar,  he  went  early  to  Ponneri  and  then  to  Muthialpet  (Madras)  and  grew 
up  under  the  care  of  his  eldest  brother,  Sabhapathy.  He  lived  at  Karunguzhi 
(1858-1867),  Vadalur  (1867-1870)  and  Mettukuppam  thereafter.  Tirugnana 
Sambandar  was  his  Jnana  Guru  by  adoption  and  Tiruvachakam,  his  bible.  He 
was  a  devotee  of  Lord  Muruga.  Having  realised  God  Vision  at  the  very  tender 
age  of  nine,  Vallalar  was  intoxicated  with  spiritual  and  moral  ideals  and  goals 
and  imbuad  with  a  missionary  zeal.  A  specimen  of  his  unbounded  compassion, 
love  and  solicitude  and  the  panorama  of  his  vision  is  here: 

1  Every  time  I  saw  crops  withering,  I  withered  top;  as  often 
As  I  saw  hungry  destitute  beggers,  Ptoo  fainted  with  hunger; 


And  the  defeat  of  the  meritorious 
Has  made  me  wilt  in  pain. 

My  life  must  cease  when  my  com  passion  dies.' 

Eight  years  after  the  Siddhi  of  Valialar,  Subramania  Bharati  was  to  be  born 
to  declare  again  that  the  crow  and  the  sparrow  belonged  to  his  caste  and  the 
sea  and  the  mountain  constituted  his  crowd!  Vallalar's  crusade  (1865  -  1874) 
for  spiritual  and  moral  force  was  in  another  sphere  carried  on  during  the  same 
period  by  Gopala  Krishna  Bharati  with  his  'Nandanar'  (1861),  a  revolutionary, 
epoc-making  tamil  opera  in  the  cause  of  removal  of  untouchability  and  sociaJ 
degradation.  The  beauty  and  grace  in  the  lives  of  these  great  men  lie  in  that 
they  followed  and  practised  what  they  preached  and  suffered  for  their  ideals. 

If  the  Soul  of  India  shines  bright  still  and  commands  respect  in  the  Comity 
of  Nations,  it  is  only  because  such  venerable  souls  had  trod  this  land,  had  chosen 
this  land  for  their  brief  tenancies.  What  is  Bharath  without  its  sages,  poets,  etc? 
No  wonder  Subramania  Bharati  thundered  to  emphasise  this  truth  and  warn  his 
countrymen  - 

'You  are  a  son  of  Bharath; 
Erase  that  thought  not ! ' 

Prof.  K.R.  Srinivasa  Ayyangar  beautifully  sums  up  the  life  of  Valialar  thus: 

"  Ramalinga  and  Gandhiji  are  surely  among  the  supreme  benefactors  of  humanity  - 
Vallalars  -  angels  and  ministers  of  grace... Like  Ramakrishna  Paramahamsa  in  Bengal, 
like  Dayananda  Saraswati  in  Western  India,  Ramalinga  Swami  in  Tamil  Nadu  was  also 
a  prophet  of  the  dawn  of  Renascent  India... They  were  the  potent  power-houses  of 
resurgence.. He  saw  that  the  mystic  vision  of  'Arut  Perum  Jyotl,  was  allied  to  th© 
complementary  power  of  'Than!  Perum  Karunai'  (Unique  Sovereign  Compassion).  " 

Vallalar's  songs  are  called  ThiruArutpa  (Golden  Book  of  Grace),  They  we  re 
published  first  in  1867  itself.  The  spiritual  grace  of  Valialar  was  supported  by 
Ills  organisational  and  managerial  wisdom,  efficiency  and  capability.  That  is  the 
beauty,  the  unique  flavour  of  his  life  and  his  mission.  Arumugha  Navalar  and 
others  were  opposed  to  his  ideals  and  there  was  litigation.  In  the  Court,  when 
Adigalar  entered,  the  plaintiff  Navalar  stood  up  to  show  his  respect  and  the 
Judge  remarked  how  such  respect  and  reverence  could  go  together  with  the 
contentions  in  the  suit  plaint.  The  suit  failed,  Six  books  with  six  thousand  songs 
appeared  .  Sri  Ooran  Adigal  of  Vadalur  has  done  yeoman  service  to  publicise 
the  works  of  Adigalar.  (The  author  had  the  blessings  of  Adigalar  to  participate 
in  one  of  the  annual  festival-based  conferences  at  Vadalur  and  also  propose,  as 
District  Collector,  the  issue  of  a  Commemoration  stamp  by  the  Government  of 
India.)  The  entire  literary  output  of  Valialar  has  been  published  in  three  volumes 
toy  the  Ramalingar  Pani  Mandram  with  the  munificence  of  the  philanthropic 
industrialist  Dr.  N.  Mahalingam,  who  heads  it.   T.S.  Parthasarathy  wrote  in  the 


'  Arutpa  is  a  shining  monument  of  Valiaiar's  religious  devotion,  spiritual  insight  and 
poetical  skill,  uttered  out  of  pure  imagination,  yet  fully  satisfying  the  rules  of  prosody. 
Realising  that  poetry  set  to  music  had  a  greater  appeal,  the  Swami  himself  wrote  musical 
compositions  like  kirtanas,  chindus  and  kummis  in  popular  ragas.  During  the  early 
decades  of  this  century,  eminent  singers  like  Tiruchendur  Shannhughavadivu  recorded 
verses  from  Thiru  Arutpa  on  gramaphone  discs.  Later  renowned  stage  actors  like 
S.G.  Kittappa  and  KB.  Sundarambal  sang  them  in  their  dramas  to  great  effect  Tiruvadi 
Pugazhcchi  was  set  to  music  by  T.M.  Theagarajan  and  recorded  as  a  cassette  by  Dr. 
M,  Prarneela. ' 

Vallalar's  Publications :         Ozhivilodukkam  1851 

Thondamandala  Sadakam  1 855 

Chinmaya  Dipikai  1 857 

Vallalar's  Journal        ;          Sanmarga  Viveka  Vruddi. 

Works  authored          :          Manumuraikanda  Vachakam 

Jeeva  Karunya  Ozhukkam 
Thiru  Arutpa 

Prime  tenets  preached  by  Vallalar : 

God  is  one. 

Animal  Sacrifice  is  not  in  conformity  with  religion. 

Meat-eating  should  be  avoided. 

Race  and  Caste  distinctions  should  not  exist 

Religious  rites  are  not  necessary. 

Poor  should  be  helped;  Compassion  is  of  prime  relevance, 

RamalingaSwamigal  was  a  preacher,  thinker,  poet,  composer,  author,  editor, 
publisher,  journalist,  jnani,  doctor,  social  reformer,  organiser  and  saint  all  in  one. 
Worshipped  as  a  Saint,  he  lived  for  the  religious,  spiritual,  social  and  moral 
resurgence  of  the  people.  A  great  yogi  of  immense  humanism  and  vision,  he 
has  left  a  deep  impression  in  the  conduct  and  character  of  the  people  of  Tamil 
Nadu  who  follow  his  tenets.  All  efforts  should  be  made  to  take  the  message  and 
songs  of  Swamigal  to  the  youth  of  the  country. 

R.A.  RAMAMANI  -  VOCALIST;  (20th  Cent.) 

!t  is  to  the  credit  of  Ramamani  that  classical  Carnatic  music  had  been 
introduced  to  the  beat  of  jazz  percussion  and  jazz  band.  (Many  may  have  no 
idea  of  its  effect  and  impact  -adverse  or  otherwise  and  proximate  and  ultimate 
-  on  classicism.)  She  had  her  musical  training  under  S.  Ramachandra  Rao, 
Seshagiri  Achar  and  Anoor  Ramakrishnan  and  had  taken  her  Master's  Degree 
in  Classical  music  from  the  Bangalore  University,  ^he  performs  Avadhana 
Pallavi  -  maintaining  two  tala  measures  simultaneously.  Is  Lecturer,  Karnatic 
College  of  Percussion,  Bangalore  and  has  participated  in  international  festivals 
in  Europe,  Canada,  etc. 



(b.  Deer.  4, 1933) 

Born  atTanjore,  of  S.K.  Gopala  Bhagavatar  and  Alarmeimangai,  Ramamurti 
Bhagavathar  belongs  to  the  Krishna  Bhagavatar  line  of  musical  discourse 
artistes.  Had  his  training  under  the  distinguished  Harikatha  Praveena 
Annaswami  Bhagavatar.  Has  been  training  many  through  an  institution  called 
'Aranert  Siruvar  Kuzhu'. 

Titles  &  Honours  :  Harikatha  Bhushanam 

Harikatha  Siromani 
Harikatha  Kalabhushan 
Kalaimamani  from  Tamil  Nadu 
Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram  in  1980. 


In  1876,  Ramanna  became  a  teacher  in  a  primary  school.  He  was  proficient 
and  competent  on  violin.  He  was  blessed  with  a  good  voice  too.  Besides  his 
mastery  in  music,  he  was  a  good  literatteur  in  Sanskrit  and  kannada.  He  was  a 
violinist  and  a  musical  discourser  and  had  been  applauded  by  Maharajah 
Chamaraja  Wodeyar  who  was  a  connoisseur  non  pare/7.  Ramanna  had 
composed  devaranamas  and  songs  in  hundreds  in  rare  and  popular  ragas  under 
the  signature  Trinapureesa',  etc.  Was  a  good  painter  also. 

Among  his  disciples  were  his  son  Venkataramiah,  musical  discourser, 
Venkatasubba  Panditha,  violinist  and  Kumara  Avadhya,  vocalist,  One  of  his 
javalis  is  set  in  marching  tune  inviting  the  lover  (Nayaka)  to  come  near. 
B.V.K.  Sastri  and  Chennakesaviah  pay  tributes  to  Ramanna's  musical  expertise. 
Hullahalli  is  near  Nanjangud  in  Karnataka. 

M.S.  RAMAYYA  -  PERCUSSIONIST:  (b.  May  1922) 

Ramayya  came  out  of  a  garden  of  artistes,  father  Subbanna  and  grandfather 
Anantappa  being  tabla  players  and  brothers  M.S.  Subramaniarn  and 
Chinnaswamy  being  violinists.  He  underwent  training  - 

in  tabla  :         under  his  father 

in  mridangam  :          under  Muthuswami  Devar  and  Ventatesha  Devar, 

besides  advanced  under  Puttachar  and  Srinivasalu  Naidu  ; 


in  tabla  for  Hindustani  under  Jan  Saheb  and 

music  ; 

in  vocal  music  :          under  B.  Devendrappah. 

His  multi-sided  training  both  in  vocal  and  in  percussion  enabled  him  to  play 


a  prominent  part  in  Karnataka  and  few  prominent  musicians  are  there  for  whom 
he  has  not  provided  accompaniment.  'His  vocal  trainng  combined  with  his 
orientation  in  laya  made  him  a  complete  and  competent  laya  exponent  with  soft 
and  deft  strokes.' 

Was  Staff  Artiste,  All  India  Radio. 

Honours  and  titles: 

Karnataka  Kala  Tilaka 

Mridanga  Kala  Shiromani 

Sangita  Kala  Ratna  by  Gayana  Samaja,  Bangalore  (1991) 


(b.  July  19,1926) 

Son  of  Muthu  Bhagavatar  and  Balambal  and  born  at  Tanjore,  he  had  his 
training  under  his  father.  Had  given  extensive  musical  discourses  in  India  and 
abroad  and  his  discourse  on  the  'Four  Prime  Tamil  Saints'  is  in  discs  also. 

Titles  &  Honours:  Navarasa  Vak  Amirdha  Bhushanam 

Kalaimamani  from  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka 
Mandram  in  1979. 

Concert  tours:  Sri  Lanka  and  South  Africa. 


Parents  :          Natesa  Pillai  and  Mangammal 

Born  in  a  musical  family,  he  had  his  training  in  tavil  under  the  maestro 
Needamangalam  Meenakshisundaram  Pillai  and  took  to  mridangam  later 
adopting  the  style  of  Palani  Subramania  Pillai.  Has  given  accompaniment  to 
prominent  musicians  and  has  been  honoured  with  the  titles  Thannumai 
Pulavar'  and  'Kalaimamani'  by  the  Tondaimandalam  Adheenam  and  the  Tamil 
Nadu  Sangeetha  Nataka  Sangham  respectively. 

*     *     * 

KJ3.  RAMASWAMY  -  VOCALIST  :  (b.August  7,  1 948) 

Place  of  birth  :          Shimoga  in  Karnataka 

Parents  :          Kuskoor  Gurumurti  Sastri  and  Nagamma 

Ramaswamy's  grandfather  Kuskoor  Krishna  Avadhani  was  devoted  to 
bhajans  and  father  Gurumurti  Sastri  had  musical  training  with  Vidwan  Rama  Jois 
of  Shimoga.  Ramaswamy  had  his  preliminaries  in  music  with  his  father  and 
higher  studies  with  Vidwan  V.  Srinivasan  of  Kerala.  Made  his  debut  in  1964  at 
Shimoga.  Passed  the  Proficiency  Examination  in  1975.  He  has  been  giving 
concerts  on  the  Doordarshan,  All  India  Radio  and  outside  and  is  the  only  'A' 


grade  vocalist  of  the  AH  India  Radio,  Bhadravati. 

K.G.  Ramaswamy,  a  B.Com,  is  an  Internal  Auditor  in  Viswesvarayya  Iron  and 
Steel  Ltd.,  Bhadravati.  He  was  awarded  the  'Best  Musician1  distinction  fc»y  the 
Bangalore  Gayana  Samaja,  Bangalore  in  1 985. 

*     *     * 


(b.  Decr.28,    1927) 

Place  of  birth  :         Tirunelveli  district  (though  she  halls  from  Madura!  district) 

Name  of  father  :         Post-master  Ayyangar  -  the  popular  name  having  stuok 

to  him. 

Ranganayaki  Ayyangar  had  the  precious  blessings  of  gurukuia  with 
Namakkal  Sesha  Ayyanger  during  1947-1955  and  with  Mudicond^an 
Venkatarama  Ayyar  till  1 960.  Securing  a  solid  foundation  in  music  under  th  &  two 
stalwarts  over  a  period  of  fourteen  years,  she  was  giving  concerts  during 
1947-1967  subsequently  in  different  spells  over  All  India  Radio  and  outride, 
besides  overseas  concerts  in  USA,  Holland  and  Japan.  Research  and  teaohing 
later  claimed  her  attention  so  fully  that  she  could  find  little  scope  for  conoorts. 
Musicology  is  her  forte,  teaching  is  her  second  field  of  specialisation,  her  rich 
training  and  a  two-decade  long  performing  career  enabling  her  to  make  her 
grade.  Her  academic  background  has  equally  been  solid  : 

1965:  University  of  Hawaii  Honolulu  -  MA  (Ethnomusicolocjy) 

1 972:  University  of  Pennsylvania  -  M. A,  (Musicology) 

1980:  University  of  Pennsylvania  -  Ph.D.  (Musicology) 

To  pursue  her  chosen  fields  of  expertise  and  specialisation,  she  had   the 
benefit  of  — 

1 957-60:  Government  Scholarship  in  Carnatic  music. 

1 962-64:  East-West  Grant  for  Cultural  Exchange,  University  of  Hawaii. 

1 967-68:  Fellowship,  University  of  Pennsylvania. 

1 968-70:  Teaching  Fellowship  with  same  University. 

1 970-71 :  Penfield  Research  Scholarship  &  Travel  Grant  of  the  same  University. 

1 971  -72:  Dissertation  Year  Fellowship  -  Same  University. 

Ranganayaki  Ayyangar  has  been  participating  in  Conferences,  Seminars 
and  Colloquia  presenting  lecdems,  etc.,  on  such  diverse  subjects  and  fora 

Somanatha's  Rudra  Vina  -  Music  Academy,  Madras. 

Musicology  &  its  implications  -  Benares  University, 

Music  in  Higher  Education  -  M.S.  University  of  Baroda. 

Performing  Arts  of  India  -SIBMAS,  Barcelona. 
Standardization  of  Technical 

Terminology  in  Hindustani 

Music  -  Benares  University. 

Ornamentations  -  Wesleyan  University. 

Alwars  and  Music  -  M.S.  University,  Baroda. 


History  of  Oral  Tradition  in 

Camatic  music  -  ICTM  Colloquium. 

Music  &  Multimedia  -  Case 

Studies  -  UNESCO  Workshop,  New  Delhi. 

Posts  held: 

Lecturer  /  Teaching  Fellow  / 
Visiting  Professor; 

College  of  Fine  Arts,  Mysore/ 
Pennsylvania  University  / 
University  of  Illinois  /  Swarthmore  and 
Dartmouth  Colleges. 

Reader  /  Head  of  Department  -\ 

of  Musicology  and  Professor  -  /          Benares  Hindu  University. 

Presently,  Ranganayaki  Ayyangar  is  Director  of  the  research-oriented 
institution  'Sampradaya'  and  is  a  Member,  Standing  Committee,  Indira  Gandhi 
National  Centre  for  Arts,  New  Delhi. 


(February  2, 1901  -  May  20,  1980) 

Place  of  birth  ;         Serangulam,  Mannargudi,  Tanjore  district. 

Parents  :          Raghunathaswami  Ayyangar  and  Janaki  Ammal 

Graduated  from          :          Findlay  College,  Mannargudi  ( in  Arts  and  Teaching). 

Rangaramanuja  Ayyangar  was  a  multi-faceted  genius,  teacher,  vainika, 
vocalist,  author,  promoter  of  music  and  researcher.  He  could  play  on  violin, 
kanjira  and  jalatarang.  A  pioneer  evangelist  dedicated  to  the  resuscitation  of 
values  in  art,  more  particularly  in  Carnatic  music  to  which  he  was  passionately 
devoted  from  beginning  to  his  end,  Ayyangar's  multi-sided  activities  included 
propagation,  publicity  and  giving  lecturers  in  and  outside  India  on  a  vast  scale. 
He  was  a  sincere  admirer  of  Veena  Dhanammal  and  when  she  stood  deserted 
in  her  old  age  by  kith  and  kin,  he  was  steadfast  in  his  attachment  to  her  and  her 
art.  He  was  one  of  the  key  figures  in  running  the  Jagannatha  Baktha  Sabha, 
Madras  which  presented  classical  concerts  in  the  thirties  to  the  cognoscenti.  A 
firm  believer  in  Sampradaya  (Traditional)  music,  he  had  close  contacts  with  the 
stalwarts ^ of  raga  and  laya.  He  was  one  of  the  few  who  was  intimately 
knowledgeable  afaput  percussionists  of  the  day  -  which  actually  saw  the  finest 
ensemble  of  mridangists,  tavilkars,  kanjira, ghatam  and  konnakol  artistes  in  a 
measure  not  witnessed  earlier  or  later.  A  musicologist  par  excellence,  Ayyangar 
had  authored  many  books  and  was  the  first  - 

to  publish  the  largest  number  of  the  songs  of  Purandara  Dasa, 

to  publish  an  elaborate  scheme  of  clear  scientific  notation  to  express  gamakas  and 
subtle  nuances; 

to  carry  classical  repdition  on  veena  to  the  Far  East,  Sri  Lanka  and  the  United  States 



to  publish  a  very  large  number  of  songs  well  edited, 


His  varied  publications  reveal  his  vast  learning  and  keen  dedication  to  th 
fine  art  and  the  books  are  in  addition  to  his  numerous  learned  lectures  an 

instructive  demonstrations  in  universities  and  elsewhere. 

Keertanamalai  1934 

Kritimanimalai  covering  an  impressive  number  of  1470  1  947  /  1  957 

'  compositions  of  the  Trinity  besides  padams,  javalis,  etc, 

An  encyclopaedic  anthology  of  songs  garnered  from  various  sources, 
Gita  Govindam  1959 

Pallavi  Tradition  (contains  25  paliavis) 

History  of  South  Indian  (Carnatic)  Music  1  972 

(Contains  valuable  information  on  the  systems,  its  stalwart  votaries,  etc,) 
Sangita  Ratnakara  of  Sarngadeva, 
Musings  of  a  Musician 

One  may  guage  his  intense  passion  for  the  music  of  the  golden  age  -  tto 
period  of  the  closing  years  of  the  1  9th  and  the  early  decades  of  the  20th  centun 
from  his  various  observations  such  as  - 

"  ...the  handful  of  talented  musicians  who  crossed  into  the  20th  century  were  confronts 
by  a  new  situation,..  The  advent  of  careensm  and  comrnercial-mindedness  threw  the  ok 

genertion  of  musicians  into  confusion  and  disarray.  Traditional  training  involving  year? 
of  hard  work  and  rigorous  discipline  became  superfluous.  The  old  veterans  droppec 
one  by  one  unable  to  do  anything  to  transmit  their  knowledge  and  experience,  Thus 
the  links  with  an  expansive  glorious  past  snapped,  ,,  With  swelling  numbers  and  com- 
petition, disinterested  pursuit  of  art  has  scotched  by  the  struggle  for  survival,  " 

He  had  taught  for  thirty-seven  years  at  the  M.Ct.  Muthiah  Chettiar  Hi' 

School,  Purasawakkam,  Madras  till  1959  and  had  a  brief  spell  as  proof-reader 
in  the  'Hindu'  Madras.  Music  had  a  magic  lure  for  him  from  the  beginning; 
Rajagopala  Dikshitar's  lay  (lakshya)  music,  Mannargudi  Chinna  Pakkiri's 
nagaswara  play  and  Simizhi  Sundaram  Ayyar's  virgin  classicism  inspired  him, 
Dhanammal  during  1926-38  was  an  ail-absorbing  enlightening  force  which 
shaped  him  into  a  crusader  for  classicism,  pure  and  noble,  He  was  simple  and 
broad-minded  and  was  a  nationalist.  His  teaching  methods  were  unique  in 
approach  and  effect. 


(b.  March  21,1893-) 

Son  of  Krishna  Ayyangar,  Rangu  Ayyangar  was  born  in  a  family  of  Sanskrit 
and  music  experts  and  at  the  age  of  thirteen  started  his  training  under 
Jagannatha  Bhagavatar  of  Kumbakonam  and  Rangaswami  Ayyangar  of 
Puducheri,  He  had  accompanied  top  artistes  and  was  popular  for  his  smooth 


play  on  mridangam.  The  Music  Academy,  Madras  awarded  a  Certificate  of  Merit 
to  him  in  1958. 


(b.  February  12, 1967) 

Classical  Carnatic  music  was  the  staple  of  the  family,  Grandfather 
Narayana  Ayyangar  of  Mysore  was  a  renowned  gottuvadyam  player.  Father 
Narasimhan  is  an  artiste  too.  No  wonder  the  combined,  cumulative  musical 
expertise  and  wisdom  have  expressed  themselves  in  Ravi  Kiran,  acclaimed  as 
a  rebirth  of  his  grandfather.  Music  has  gone  very  deep  into  Ravi  Kiran  right  from 
childhood.  His  raga  alapana,  kriti  rendition  and  swara  essays  are  deep, 
expositive  and  soulful.  There  is  a  steady  and  confident  flow  of  classical  melody 
at  his  concerts  born  of  sure  approach,  certain  grasp,  planned  thoughts  and 
robust  innovative  application.  The  unruffled  stately  manner  in  which  he 
proceeds  is  a  tribute  to  his  mastery  and  mature  musicianship.  One  could  see 
him  conversing  with  his  chitra  veena  even  as  Madura!  Mani  would  do  with  the 
tambura  and  Balachander  with  his  veena.  One  could  notice  a  contemplative 
philosophic  look  in  his  face  when  he  performs  indicating  mature  and  total 
dedication  to  the  finer  nuances  and  graces  of  music.  His  rendition  is  along  the 
'Raja  marga'  of  meditative  classicism  and  never  treads  the  bylanes  of 
neoclassicism.  His  raga  essays  are  thoughtful  and  elaborate  and  kriti  rendition 
and  swara  explorations  crisp. 

His  advent  and  graduation  in  the  musical  world  is  as  old  as  his  second  year. 
He  took  the  world  by  storm  by  exhibiting  his  precocious  phenomenon  with  his 
ability  to  identify  and  demonstrate  more  than  325  ragas  and  175  talas  besides 
standing  up  to  a  quiz  session  on  the  theory  of  Carnatic  music.  Here  is  an 
authentic  account  from  the  Journal  of  the  Music  Academy  (XLI)  ; 

"Child  Music  Prodigy" 

'Ravikiran,  2Va  years  old,  appeared  before  the  members  of  the  Experts' 
Commitee  of  the  Music  Academy.  A  very  large  gathering  of  people  had 
thronged  to  witness...  The  child  could  recognise  72  melakartas,  their  1 2  chakras, 
anaka  and  janya  ragas,  different  kinds  of  ragas  -  sampurna,  shadava,  etc., 
Drakriti  and  vikriti  swaras,  the  ten  kinds  of  gamakas,  talas  and  their  jatis  .  .  . 
different  parts  of  composition...  ' 

He  was  put  to  a  test  also  and  the  child  came  out  with  flying  honours.  What  was 
:he  result? 

The  Music  Academy  proposed  to  give  a  monthly  stipend  of  Rs.  Fifty  for  three 
fears  for  the  proper  upbringing  of  the  child...  The  child  would  attend  the  coming 
conferences  of  the  Academy...  ' 

So,  the  child  sat  with  other  Experts  aged  fifty,  sixty  and  seventy!!  And  sat 


uly  accredited!!!  It  is  a  historic  event  in  the  annals  of  Carnatic  music  and  the 
ccreditation  had  been  done  by  the  highest  reputed  body  competent  to  do  it.  It 
ould  appear  that  the  grace  of  Saint  Gnanasambandar  had  descended  on  the 
hsld!  The  Press  found  itself  landed  in  a  drought  of  expletives  and  adjectives. 
raise  poured  in  from  all  directions.  Here  are  some  : 

"  If  you  don't  believe  in  God,  look  at  Ravi  Kiran."  —  Pandit  Ravishankar  ( 1 969  -  70) 

11  With  mikes  a!!  around  him  and  his  hands  full  of  biscuits  ...  all  the  time  playing  ,  the 
child  gave  out  correct  answers.'  —  The  Journal  of  the  Music  Academy  1 969  -  70 

11  His  recital,  sans  violin,  sans  percussion,  stood  aloft  like  a  beacon  for  the  storm  -  battered 
music  world."  —  Indian  Express. 

"  To  listen  to  his  music  is  an  education  in  Carnatic  Classificism."  —  The  Hindu. 

Pandit  Ravishankar's  remark  of  1969-70  was  the  echo  of  what  was  said  at 
erlin  on  April  12,  1929  by  the  great  mathematical  physicist  famous  for  the 
heory  of  Relativity.  Yehudi  Menuhin  was  thirteen.  At  the  concert,  his  violin  - 
lay  was  remarkable.  The  sounds  were  as  pure  as  gold,  inspired  by  an  angelic 
aturalness  of  phrasing  and  musicality  and  without  a  trace  of  childishness/ 
hen  Albert  Einstein  remarked  : 

"Now  I  know  that  there  is  a  God  in  Heaven." 

he  only  difference  was  that  Menuhin  was  then  about  13  while  Ravi  Kiran  was 
Dunger  by  ten  years. 

The  progress  thenceforth  was  equally  impressive.  He  gave  his  first  vocal 
Dncert  at  Bangalore  while  yet  a  boy  of  five.  Next  year,  he  gave  his  first 
erformance  on  gottuvadyam  at  the  Brahma  Gana  Sabha.  Pleased  at  the 
rtistry,  maturity  and  technical  elegance  displayed  by  Kiran,  Semmangudi  Dr. 
rinivasa  Ayyar  presented  the  plectrum  used  once  by  his  guru,  Sakharama  Rao, 
ho,  incidentally,  was  preceptor  to  Kiran's  grandfather  too.  In  1 980  the  Music 
cademy  selected  him  as  the  best  Junior  and  in  1981,  it  awarded  him  the 
hanmughavadivu  Memorial  Prize.  His  concert  career  could  be  taken  as 
jgularly  commenced  from  the  age  of  twelve,  when  the  All  India  Radio  accepted 
im  as  an  artiste  and  placed  him  in  the  very  next  year  itself  in  'A  Grade.  He 
as  on  television  in  1 980.  His  dedication  and  application  to  art  were  so  intense 
lat  he  could  think  of  scholastic  education  only  at  the  age  of  nine  by  which  time, 
e  was  a  recognised  artiste  in  the  music  world.  He  switched  over  to 
ottuvadyam  when  his  vocal  expression  was  fairly  advanced. 

Ravi  Kiran  is  one  of  the  top,  senior  artistes  now  and  perhaps  the  best 
uthority  to  handle  chitraveena.  He  has  not  the  inclination  to  stoop  to  play  to 
allery  or  deviate  from  the  golden  mean  of  pure  classicism.  His  rendition  enjoys 
le  majesty  which  one  sees  in  Muthuswami  Dikshitar's  kritis.  In  his  approach 
>  his  music,  he  is  in  the  distinguished  company  of  the  late  Veena  Balachander, 
ho  had  once  said  : 



"The  rasika's  love  for  music  has  no  commercial  angle,  whereas,  we  (musicians)  are 
being  paid  to  perform  for  them!!  To  us,  it  is  certainly  a  commercial  proposition,  a 
commercial  commitment!!!  Hence,  from  where  we  sit,  they  are  purer  at  heart!!!  .  ,  . 
As  a  musician,  your  responsibility  is  to  see  that,  although  it  is  a  commercial 
arrangement,  YOU  DO  NOT  MAKE  YOUR  ART  COMMERCIAL!!! " 

It  is  noteworthy  that  young  Ravi  Kiran  is  a  staunch  believer  of  this  dictum 
and  has  never  swerved  from  it.  His  ideal  is  fully  projected  in  his  statement 

"  I  seek  to  expand  the  horizon  of  their  knowledge  and  deepen  their 
understanding  by  giving  explanation  and  lecdem. " 

How  many  artistes  could  lay  claim  to  this?  A  Commerce  Graduate  and  sports 
enthusiast,  Ravi  Kiran  has  founded  the  International  Foundation  for  Carnatic 
Music  to  cater  to  the  needs  of  students,  etc.,  in  furtherance  of  this  objective. 

Gottuvadyam  is  a  rare  musical  instrument  and  only  a  few  have  been  able  to 
master  it  and  attain  renown  and  fame;  and  so  it  is  meritorious  that  Ravi  Kiran 
distinguished  himself  while  so  young  as  the  most  authentic  exponent  on  that 


1  The  faultless  vision  of  classicism,  his  pure  and  intense  gaze  of  gnanam...  phrasing 
the  ragas  with  pregnant  silences  between  statements  created  each  raga  beautifully 
and  evoked  its  powerful  tranquility,  demonstrating  authentic  aiapana  tradition. ' 

—  (The  HindU) 

'NMN'calied  him  a  'Safigeetha  Gnani.'  The  'Gnani'  is  a  picture  of  decorum, 
dignity  and  poise  on  the  dais  -  exuding  self-reverence,  self-knowledge  and 
self-control.  In  July  1985,  Ravi  Kiran  demonstrated  his  determination,  skill  and 
expertise  with  a  non-stop  twenty-four  hour  play  on  Chitraveena  and  the  unique 
feature  of  this  exercise  was  that  it  was  done  sans  food,  water  and  even 
movement  from  his  seat  It  was  a  feat  of  endurance,  total  surrender  to  music, 
yogic  musical  expression  and  nadha  yoga. 

Titles  and  Honours : 

1973  Arul  Isai  Selvam  - 

1 980  Nada  Sudharnava 

1 985  Sangeeth  Samrat  - 

1 985  Kalaimamani  - 

1 986  Madura  Nada  Mannar  - 
1991  Sanskrit!  Award  - 

By  Tamil  Nadu  Nalvazhi  Nilayam 

By  Murali  Ravali 

By  Wisdom  International 

By  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram 

By  Arul  Neri  Mandram 

By  Sanskriti  Pratishtan  of  India. 

Concert  Tours : 

Festival  of  India  in  France  1 985 

Rang  -  Raag  Fest,  U.K.  1 986 

International  Musical  Festival  of  Radio  France  1 987 

Festival  of  India  in  Switzerland  1 987 

Raag  -  Mala  Festival,  USA  1 988 

Festival  of  India,  Germany  1 991  - 1 992 
Concerts  in  France,  Germany,  Holland,  U.K.,  USA,  Canada  etc., 


The  photo  taken  on  the  occasion  of  Ravi  Kiran's  advent  at  the  Music 
Academy  at  the  age  of  two  graces  this  'Garland  ',  Admirers  may  be  glad  to  be 
reminded  of  a  like  reaction  in  the  life  of  another  great  man  in  a  different  walk  of 
life.  Samuel  Johnson  was  not  quite  three  years  old;  he  was  at  the  Cathedral 
perched  upon  his  father's  shoulders  listening  and  gaping  at  the  much  celebrated 
preacher,  Dr.  S.  When  asked  how  such  an  infant  could  possibly  be  thought  of 
being  brought  to  a  crowded  church,  father  Michael  Johnson  answered  : 

'  It  is  impossible  to  keep  him  at  home;  for  young  as  he  is,  he  has  caught  the  public 
spirit  and  zeal  for  Dr.  S.  and  would  have  stayed  for  ever  in  the  Church  satisfied  with 
beholding  him  ! ' 

Ravi  Kiran  is  a  knowledgeable  instrumentalist  of  such  sweetness  of  tone, 
temperament  and  deportment  that  it  is  hard  to  imagine  him  sounding  anything 
but  benignly  classical. 


Wit,  Wisdom  and  Mischief  are  collaterals.  It  is  well  known  that  flautist  wizard 
Sarabha  Sastri  had  a  disciple  in  Sanjeeva  Rao.  Actually  there  was  another,  Ramu  of 
Tiruvisanallur  who  later  flowered  as  the  famous  mimicry  specialist  and  Asthana  Vidwan 
Vikatakavi  Ramaswami  Sastrigal. 

Ramu  was  witty,  wise  and  mischievous.  Rama  of  Ramayana  too  was  so.  Did  he  not 
antagonise  Manthara,  the  hunchback?  Sarabha  was  about  to  enter  his  house  after  a  visit. 
Ramu,  who  was  tuning  the  tambura  for  Sanjeeva  *s  flute  practice,  stopped  tuning  it  but 
mimicked  deliberately  bringing  an  element  of  wrong  sruti.  The  maestro  was  shocked 
and  shouted., 

*  Sanjeeva,  where  is  the  sruti,  you.../ 

Innocent  Sanjeeva  did  not  know  what  had  happened.  He  was  shocked,  apologised 
and  pointed  to  the  culprit  Ramu.  The  learned  Sarabha  could  not  see  the  mischievous  joy 
in  the  face  of  young  Ramu  as  he  was  not  blessed  with  eye-sight.  Suppose  he  had  it, 
would  he  have  enjoyed  it  or  shown  the  gate  to  Ramu? 

The  art  of  musical  mimicry  has  practically  lost  its  popularity  after  the  lifetime  of 
Ramaswami  Sastrigal. 


PROF.  V.V.  SADAGOPAN  ~  PEDAGOGUE/VOCALIST  :      (b.  Jany  29, 1915) 

Prof.  Sadagopan  was  a  distinguished  musician-teacher  who  had  contributed 
much  to  the  science  and  art  of  music.  He  held  highly  practical  and  enlightened 
views  and  made  a  subtle  distinction  between  Music  in  Education  and  Education 
in  Music  and  supported  the  view  that  Lakshya  (aesthetic  perception)  should 
precede  and  prevail  over  Lakshna  (intellectual  abstraction).  Here  is  a  beautiful 
bunch  of  similies  from  him  : 

'  Nada  is  the  calm  Sea  of  Quiet  Joy 
on  which  the  student  voyages. 
The  boat  is  his  voice  and  it  should  not  be  leaky. 
Sruti  is  the  rudder;  Laya,  the  paddle. 
Raga  Bhava  is  the  sail;  and  imagination,  the  wind.1 

He  had  his  musical  tutelage  with  Namakkal  Sesha  Ayyangar  and  Ramanuja 
Ayyangar.  Was  Professor,  Delhi  University  (Faculty  of  Music).  He  founded  the 
Tyaga  Bharati'  School.  Was  on  the  Experts  Committee  of  the  Music  Academy, 
Madras  and  had  contributed  much  to  its  deliberations.  Viravanallur  Vedantam 
Sadagopan  represented  Indian  Music  in  the  Centenary  Celebrations  of  the 
Moscow  Conservatoire,  1966.  He  was  Founder  -  Director,  Delhi  Sangeeta 
Samaj.  Was  a  regular  contributor  of  articles  and  was  Editor  of  the  journal 
Indian  Music  published  by  it.  Spirals  and  Circles  compiled  from  notes  and 
lectures  of  Sadagopan  was  released  by  the  Music  Education  Mission.  The  book 
presents  a  master  plan  for  teaching,  singing  and  hearing  of  music.  'Has  an 
evangelic  zeal  for  "Music  for  Human  Relations  through  integrative  Music 
Education".  He  believes  individual,  social  and  global  harmony  can  be  fostered 
through  this.  A  musician  of  high  calibre.' 

—  Indian  Music  Journal. 

Concert  Tour :  Europe. 
Disc  recordings. 

Sadagopan  has  composed  songs  under  the  signature  'Seshadasan'  and 
has  set  to  tunes  many  songs  of  Ambhujam  Krishna  and  others. 


A  disciple  of  the  illustrious  Wallajah  Venkataramana  Bhagavatar,  who  was  a 
direct  disciple  of  Tyagarajah,  Sadasiva  Rao  is  the  distinguished  musician  who 
trained  the  famous  Veena  Subbanna  and  Veena  Seshanna  of  Mysore.  A 
runaway  boy  at  twelve  and  a  Collector's  Office  clerk  later,  he  became  Asthana 


Vidwan  at  the  Mysore  Durbar  a  recognition  of  his  erudite  musical  scholarship 
Of  course,  he  might  not  have  accepted  the  post  but  for  a  quirk  of  fate!  £?  ^dasivs 
Rao  was  affluent  and  was  passionately  devoted  to  Atithi  satkara  -  fee* ding  as 
many  guests  as  possible  daily  at  his  house.  Feeding  guests  was  a  custom'tha 
was  part  of  Hindu  dharma  till  recently.  He  never  wavered  in  his  great  rnissior 
even  when  generosity  and  charity  had  reduced  his  status  from  a  princely  lifetc 
abject  penury.  (This  may  remind  one  of  a  tamil  king  of  'Purananuru'  d^ys,  whc 
was  lavish  in  his  charity.  He  was  overthrown  by  another  ruler  and  thrown  intc 
prison.  Chanty  did  not  help  him  to  win  the  war  but  provided  him  with  ar 
occasion  to  become  immortal  in  the  golden  pages  of  poetry.  A  poet  ignorant  o 
his  pathetic  lot,  went  to  meet  him  and  at  the  prison  eulogised  his  noble  trait 
regretting  the  king's  present  condition  and  his  own  harsh  fate.  The  penniless 
prisoner  gave  him  a  letter  addressed  to  his  wife.  The  forlorn  lady,  on  sowing  th< 
later,  felt  miserable  having  nothing  to  present  to  the  poet  as  counselled  by  he 
spouse.  Finally  she  tied  up  a  turmeric  as  her  mangalasutra  and  presented  th< 
only  article  of  value  she  had  viz.,  the  mangalasutra  (thali)  itself  made  of  gold  t< 
uphold  the  unsullied  dharmic  dignity  of  her  spouse!  In  the  life*  o^  Ac 
Sankaracharya,  the  lady  had  nothing  left  to  present  to  the  yogi  and  presents  th< 
only  thing  left  in  her  house,  an  emblic  myrabolan.)  Sadasiva  was  a  faithfi 
follower  of  the  scriptural  injunctions  on  charity.  He  had  perforce  to  aocept  thi 
post  of  Court  Vidwan  on  Rs.  Thirty  per  mensem  in  the  context  of  his  straitenei 
circumstances.  He  died  at  the  age  of  eighty  full  of  merit  and  glory. 

Sadasiva  Rao  was  born  at  Chittoor  and  went  over  to  Mysore  when  he  wa 
thirty  years  old.  He  had  an  imposing  personality,  dignified  and  grand.  Was  i 
mahratta  and  a  devotee  of  Lord  Narasimha.  Mysore  Vasudevachar  reoounts 
very  significant  incident.  Rao  was  giving  a  concert  for  Ramotsavam  to  a  packe 
hall.  Someone  requested  him  to  sing  his  kirtana  Na.r^^imhud 
(Kamalamanohari).  Rao  explained  that  he  used  to  sing  that  song  only  in  hi 
pooja  room  observing  a  fast.  The  admirer  persisted  with  folded  hands  innocer 
of  his  qualms.  'Believing  /ana  seva  is  also  a  form  of  Janardana  Sev&9  £3  adasiv 
Rao  went  through  pallavi  and  anupallavi  and  when  he  was  singing  the  sahity 
Sanakadulu  Vismayimpa,  the  framed  picture  of  Narasimha  hung  up  on  the  wa 
suddenly  fell  down,  the  glass  breaking  into  pieces!  The  great  man  was  In  tear 
and  the  audience  felt  sad  and  distressed. 

He  has  composed  delightful  kirtanas  full  of  bhava  and  bhakti  lik 
Paramadbhutamaina  (Kham@s)  on  Srirangam  Ranganatha,  Sri  Partfa &sarat-h 
{Bhairavi)  on  the  Lord  at  Triplicane,  Kanugoni  (Kalyani)  on  Sri  Karnaksti 
Kanchipuram.  His  disciple  Subbanna  kept  complete  account  of  his  tanaivarnai 
padavarnas,  kirtanas,  tillanas  and  swarajatis.  Vasudevacharya  descri  Ibes  Rao 
style  as  Narikelapaka  with  a  difficult  outer  structure  but  with  sweet,  nourishin 
inner  content  and  calls  him  Gandharvamsha  Sambhoota.  He  ha.d  adopte 
several  signatures  including  'Sadasiva  Bhagyadheya'.  His  songs  are  full  < 


SADHURAM  SWAM1GAL  -  INSPIRED  COMPOSER:      (b.  February  3,  1937) 

1  Sethuraman  sings  the  praise  of  Siva  as  the  four  great  Nayanmars  did;  he  pours  out  his 
soul  in  praise  of  Vishnu  as  the  twelve  great  Alwars  did;  he  goes  into  ecstasies  over 
Muruga  as  Saint  Arunagirinathar  did;  he  sings  the  glory  of  Ambikai  (Goddess)  as* 
Abhirami  Bhattar  did;  and  he  celebrates  in  his  poems  the  lives  and  greatness  of 
contemporary  saints  as  Sekkizhar  did  in  the  1 2th  century  A.D:  of  the  famous  sixty-three 
saints.  I  shall  not  be  surprised  if  he  sings  of  the  Buddha  and  Christ,  Zoraster  and 
Mohammed,  Confucius  and  Tao  also. ' 

—  O.V.  Alagesan,  former  Minister,  Government  of  India  and 

an  ardent  admirer  of  Swamigal. 

Sethuraman  is  now  Sadhuram  Swamigal  after  renunciation.  He  is  an 
Arutkavi,  a  gifted  composer  of  songs  and  verses.  He  does  not  consciously 
compose;  the  sahitya,  the  lyric  or  the  songs  roll  out  cascading  as  if  the  Amazon 
rushes  through  the  167  feet  Niagara  Falls!  He  stands  in  trance;  no  conscious 
effort,  no  manner  of  thinking  or  perceivable  mental  exercise.  Honeyed  songs 
and  poems  pour  out  of  his  lips  pregnant  with  excellence  of  concept,  richness  of 
rhythm  and  easy-paced  rhyme.  The  author  of  this  book  was  himself  a  witness 
to  one  such  exercise  of  his  about  three  decades  back  when  Swamigal  had  not 
taken  to  renunciation.  It  was  unbelievable.  It  was  at  Uthiramerur  famous  for  its 
Chola  inscriptions  on  Panchayat  Raj  and  O.V.  Alagesan  brought  him  to  the 
temple  there.  Alagesan  records  that  those  who  doubted  about  the  divine 
rendition  of  the  Tamil  Big  Four  Apostles  and  of  Arunagirinathar  would  get 
enlightened  when  they  see  Swamigal's  flowing  extempore  composition  and 
rendition  and  states  that  there  is  no  such  person  of  his  eminence  now  in  Tamil 
Nadu.  The  compositions  are  in  chaste  tamil  conforming  to  the  rules  of  grammar 
and  prosody.  'His  whole  being  melts  into  music  everytime  he  composes.' 

S.V.  Sethuraman  though  born  at  Madras  belongs  to  Nadakudi  near  Nannilam 
on  the  banks  of  the  River  Mudicondan  near  Srivanjiam.  Son  of  S.  Venkataswami 
Ayyar  and  Dharmambal  Ammal,  he  passed  his  SSLC  and  was  in  service  in  the 
Sub  Registry  Offices  at  Tiruporur  and  Madras,  Prithvi  Insurance  Company  and 
Life  Insurance  Corporation  of  India,  Madras.  Was  of  a  religious  bent  of  mind 
even  while  young  and  had  strange  premonitions  and  experiences.  For  instance, 
on  January  20, 1952,  a  ripe  old  man  approached  him  at  Tiruporur,  handed  over 
to  him  a  108-line  kummi  song,  took  him  to  his  Chintadripet  (Madras)  residence 
and  disappeared!  That  was  the  beginning  of  his  spiritual  pursuits  and  he  began 
to  spin  out  delicious  songs  full  of  devotional  flavour,  artistic  grace  and 
conceptual  beauty.  The  incident  of  20th  January  was  a  mystic  experience  pure 
and  simple  which  confirmed  the  path  and  purpose  of  his  mission.  The  108-line 
piece  was  Thiru  Murugan  Hara  Harao  HarakkummL  He  had  earlier  initiation  in 
Tirupugazh  by  Sri  Vallimalai  Sachitananda  Swamigal. 

Official  life  hindered  not  his  spiritual  mission  but  was  not  in  tune  with  his 
innate  instincts  and  his  efflorescence  in  the  destined  path.  He  took  to 


renunciation  on  February  15,  1969  and  Sethuraman  became  Sadhuram 
Swamigal.  His  compositions  called  Arutpugazh  number  twenty-thousand 
progressively  increasing  in  number  and  variety.  Arul  Isas  Mani,  Tirupugazh 
Nallisai  Selvar,  Su.Ve.  Subramaniam,  his  purvashrama  brother  assists  him  in 
recording  his  outpourings  even  as  Purandara's  sons  helped  their  illustrious 

Swamigal  made  his  debut  in  1951  with  a  musical  discourse  at  Madras  and 
extempore  rendition  commenced  in  1953  at  Nadakudi.  He  has  been  giving 
musica!  discourses  and  lectures.  Has  toured  throughout  India  and  has  founded 
many  institutions  to  further  his  laudable  objectives.. 

His  publications  are  numerous  -and  varied  including  a  prose  work  Katturai 

Disc  recordings          :          Tirupugazh  in  two  cassettes 

Sri  Reddiapatti  Swamigal's  Arutpadalgal,  etc.  in  eight 


Arulkavi,  Aasukavi, 

Madhurakavi,  Chitrakavi, 

Vistharakavi,  Chathurakavi  Rajan. 

His  fiftieth  birthday  was  celebrated  in  1987  with  great  enthusiasm.  The 
Golden  Jubilee  Souvenir  released  on  the  occasion  contains  some  of  his 
compositions.  Presently  he  is  based  in  the  Pongi  Madalayam,  Nangainallur, 
Madras.  Musicians  may  avail  of  his  songs  and  bring  them  to  current  use. 



'Sahaji  Raja,  the  Abhinavabhoja  of  Tanjore  was  the  second  and  the  most 
illustrious  of  the  Mahratta  rulers  of  Tanjore.  Rightly  does  he  occupy  the  most 
honoured  place  in  the  galaxy  of  royal  musicologists,  royal  composers  and  royal 
patrons',  remarks  Dr.  S.  Seetha  lately  of  the  Madras  University.  While  a  very 
large  number  of  works  are  attributed  to  him,  the  music  of  only  one,  Sankara 
Palliseva  Prabhanda,  a  geya  nataka  is  available.  His  Tyagesa  Pada(s)  in 
Sanskrit,  mahratti  and  telugu  testify  to  his  eminence,  scholarship  and  mastery 
in  language  and  music,  His  Saptasagara  Suladi  Prabandha  Ula  Daru  in  mahratti 
is  a  ragatalamalika  with  diverse  musical  forms  revealing  his  high  intellectual 
attainments  and  musicianship.  Sahaji  Ragalakshana  (in  manuscript)  is  his 
contribution  as  a  musicologist.  Tyagesa1  and  Tyaga'  are  his  signatures 
signifying  his  devotion  to  the  Presiding  Deity  of  Tiruvarur, 


Son  of  Ekoji  I  and  Dipambika,  Sahaji  had  probably  Appa  Sastri  alias  Sri 
Parabrahmananda  Yogi  as  his  spiritual  preceptor. 


If  there  are  a  few  lady-musicians  who  are  not  only  proficient  in  diverse 
musical  styles  but  are  prominent  in  other  fields  as  well,  undoubtedly  Sakuntala 
Narasimhan  is  one  among  them.  She  was  born  at  Kanchipuram,  of  G.S.  Raman 
and  Sugandha  in  a  musical  family.  Her  grandmother  was  a  disciple  of  the 
renowned  Naina  Pillai  and  Puducheri  Rangaswami  Ayyangar  and  her  mother 
was  quite  felicitous  in  vocal  and  on  veena  and  in  Carnatic  and  Hindustani  music. 
Sakuntala  naturally  inherited  the  legacy  of  the  family  -  which  seems  to  run  in  the 
female  line  and  enlarged  her  musical  training  and  knowledge  with  a  Sangita 
Vidwan  diploma  from  the  Central  College  of  Carnatic  Music  with  distinction. 
Ustad  Hafeez  Ahmed  Khan  was  her  preceptor  in  Hindustani  music. 

Made  her  debut  at  the  age  of  ten  at  Delhi  in  a  duet  with  her  mother.  During 
the  last  two  decades  she  seems  to  be  running  against  the  clock  and  the  calender 
in  giving  lecture-  demonstrations  and  concerts  in  India  and  abroad  and  pursuing 
her  hefty  journalistic  endeavours.  Her  lectures  in  musicology  are  relished  by 
the  lay  and  the  cognoscenti  and  she  has  bagged  many  gold  medals  for  her 
concerts  and  lectures  on  musicology. 

Sakuntala  Narasimhan  taught  Musicology  at  the  Bombay  University  and  has 
been  examiner  for  the  same  since  1 977-78.  A  post-graduate  in  economics  and 
an  award-winning  journalist,  she  is  fully  equipped  to  make  analytic  probes  into 
the  immense  panorama  of  Music  of  India.  Was  guest  faculty  at  SNDT  and 
Bombay  University.  Musical  legacy  and  training,  felicity  in  different  languages 
and  journalistic  pursuits  gave  her  the  ideal  field  to  project  her  talents 
successfully.  Sakuntala  Narasimhan  is  well  known  as  a  full-time  journalist  and 
later  Assistant  Editor,  Femina  and  Columnist  on  women's  issues  and  consumer 
affairs  for  Deccan  Herald  since  1984.  Got  the  outstanding  Woman  Journalist 
Award  for  1984  and  Runner-up  Woman  Journalist  and  Eve's  Weekly  Awards 
1984  and  1986.  Her  published  articles  number  a  gigantic  950  till  now!  Was 
Vice-President,  Consumer  Guidance  Society  of  India,  1989  and  1990. 

Concert  tours:  Japan,  Singapore,  France,  USA,  Kenya. 

Publications:  Invitation  to  Indian  Music  (and  four  other  books  on  other 


Disc  recordings:  CBS  release  1 989 

Honours  &  Titles: 

To  her  acquisition  of  gold  medals  and  awards,  she  has  added  the  titles  of 
'Sangita  Ratna'  in  1953  and  'Sur  ManP  in  1974. 


MYLATTUR  V.  SAMI  AYYAR  -  MR1DANGIST:  (20th  Century) 

Sami  Ayyar  had  his  training  in  percussion  under  his  uncle  Mylattur  Krishna 
Ayyar  and  in  1 938  entered  the  Annamalai  University  as  Lecturer  in  Mridangam. 
Has  authored  the  book  'Mridanga  Paada  Mural'  released  by  the  University. 

*  *     * 


Son  of  Vengu  Bhagavatar,  the  bhajan  specialist,  Sami  Bhagavatar  was  so 
much  dedicated  to  devotional  music  that  he  would  go  to  Madras  during  the 
Dhanurmasa  to  do  bhajan  along  the  main  streets  of  Mylapore,  since  it  was  then 
the  loveliest  place  on  earth  which  exuded  charm,  calm,  spiritual  and  musical 
environment  and  was  the  sanctuary  and  haven  of  bhagavatas,  musicians  and 
music-lovers.  (And  all  that  is  lost  now  with  the  main  streets  around  the  tank  and 
the  temple  being  studded  with  hundreds  of  vendors  and  petty  shops.  Music 
would  be  the  last  art  to  peep  in  anywhere  near  or  flourish.  If  music  dried  up  on 
the  streets,  the  beautiful  tank  has  not  seen  a  spoonful  of  water  for  half  a  decade 
and  over!  All  the  water  inlets  stand  blocked.) 

Bhagavatar  enjoyed  a  pleasing  voice,  an  immense  repertoire  of  Tyagaraja's 
songs  and  laid  stress  on  the  bhava  and  rasa  of  each  song.  He  attracted  massive 

*  *     * 


A  talented  composer  in  apoorva  ragas  and  a  scholar  -  expert  in  the 
presentation  of  the  nuances  and  finer  aspects  of  tamil  songs,  Sankara  Ayyar  is 
a  senior  vocalist  'He  is  one  of  our  seldom  heard  vocalists  whose  music  is  shorn 
of  shallow  smartness  and  precocity  and  who  is  a  repository  of  the  purest 
tradition',  states  K.S.  Mahadevan.  His  compositions  come  up  for  constant 

Born  at  Toga  Malai  in  Tiruchirapalli  district,  of  Venkatesa  Ayyar  and 
Kuppalammal,  he  had  his  training  in  music  under  his  musician  -  grandfather, 
Krishna  Ayyar  for  ten  years.  Later  he  joined  the  Ramanathan  College  of  Musis 
of  the  Annamalai  University  and  got  the  'Sangeetha  Bhushanam'  diploma.  At 
the  College,  he  had  the  benefit  of  training  under  stalwarts  like  Tiger 
Varadachariar  and  Sathur  Krishna  Ayyangar.  Made  his  debut  at  the 
Ramakrishna  Home,  Madras  in  1937,  when  C.Saraswati  Bai  could  not  take  up 
the  harikatha  concert  listed  for  the  day.  In  Carnatic  music,  it  has  been  found 
that  juniors  who  substituted  for  senior  artistes  had  shot  up  to  the  top  like 
Ariyakudi  Ramanuja  Ayyangar,  G.N.  Balasubramaniam  and  Rajamanickam 
Pillai.  Was  Principal,  Tamil  Isai  College,  Devakottai  and  Professor,  College  of 
Carnatic  Music,  Madras  and  Shanmukhananda  Sabha  Music  School,  Bombay. 


His  compositions  are  in  Sanskrit,  telugu  and  tamil  and  comprise  varnam,  pada 

ksrtan,  javali,  etc.  Several  of  these  are  now  handled  by  musicians  and  dance 

(Desh)  was  his  first  which  incribed  his  name  in  the  list 

memorable    composers.    Gitavadya    Natana    (Natakapriya),    Manasarair 

and  Balakhshna  Paadame  Thunai  (Vishnupriya)  are  other  popu 

among  his  forty  compositions. 

Titles  and  Honours: 

Certificate  of  Merit  from  the  Music  Academy  (1 986) 

Title  of  'NadakanaT  from  Bharath  Kaiachar. 

Kalaimamani  from  T.N.Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram  (1992) 

Sankara  Ayyar  is  a  sampradaya  vidwan  who  believes  in  the  Carnatic  B 
being  followed  in  essence  and  spirit.  His  lecture-  demonstrations  are  instruct! 
"He  is  a  veritable  walking  encyclopaedia." 

*     *     * 

Son  of  Tanjore  Duraiswami  Ayyar,  Sankara  Ayyar  had  his  violin  train 
initially  under  his  father  and  then  under  Trichy  Violin  Venugopala  Pillai.  Me 
his  at  Tanjore  and  had  provided  accompaniment  to  prominent  artis 

including  the  Women  Vocal  Trinity,  MSS,  MLV  and  DKP.  Has  been  awarded  • 

Kalaimamani'  by  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram  in  1976. 

M.  R.  SANKARAMOORTY  -  VOCALIST:  (b.  1922) 

Place  of  birth:  Madulakura  in  Hassan  district. 

Sankaramurty  had  his  initial  training  with  Rama  Bhatta,  a  bhagavata,  leg 
telugu  at  Nandalur  (A. P.)  and  in  his  thirteenth  year  underwent  training  in  rau 
with    Rama    Josier    and    then    Chembai    Vaidyanatha    Ayyar    and    R 
Keshavamurthy.  His  hunger  for  music  was  so  intense  that  he  learnt  Hindust 
Bhatkhande  at  Bombay.  His  musical  training  would  seem  to  hi 
him  around  different  states.  Returning  to  Bangalore,  he  enlarged 
and  knowledge  of  the  art  with  further  training  under  Belakuv 
Ayyangar  and  Sathur  Krishna  Ayyangar. 

giving  concerts  as  duo  with  G.L  Ganesa  Sastri.  Has  been  giv 
on  the  All  India  Radio  and  elsewhere.  Established  the  Guruk 
Nilaya,  Bangalore. 


forty  numbers  on  music  in  kannada  including  Pancharatna  klrtai 
and  Sangita  Sudha  (at  prices  within  the  reach  of  all). 


T.S.  SANKARAN  -  FLAUTIST:  (b.October  28,  1932) 

Place  of  birth  Sathanur  in  Tanjore  district 

Note:  There  are  various  places  named  Sathanur  including  one  in  South  Arcot 
district  where  there  is  an  irrigation  reservoir  and  another  near  Saivagangamalai 
where  Pundarika  Vittala  was  born. 

Parents  :          IN.  Sambasivam,  flautist  and  IS.  Alarmelu  Ammal. 

Sankaran  had  his  training  in  music  under  his  father,  a  prominent  flautist 
attached  to  the  Tiruvaduthurai  Mutt  and  Court  Vidwan,  Mysore.  Later  he  had 
his  gurukulavasa  under  the  renowned  T.R:  Mahalingam  (Mali)  and  continued 
with  him  to  the  last  so  devotedly  that  Mahalingam  called  him  'Ekalavya'  and 
treated  him  as  his  brother.  Sankaran  has  been  giving  concerts  on  the  All  India 
Radio,  Doordarshan,  sabhas,  etc.,  and  in  India  and  abroad  having  made  his 
debut  at  the  tender  age  of  nine  at  Avudayarkoil  where  St.  Manickavachakar  has 
built  a  magnificent  temple  for  the  invisible  Linga.  He  follows  the  vocal  style  of 
rendition  like  Mali.  Has  choreographed  some  Tirupugazh  songs  in  accordance 
with  the  old  Santha  Thalam  mode.  Sankaran 's  rendition  is  soft  and  soothing. 
His  concerts  are  'aesthetically  planned  and  fascinatingly  rendered'. 

Was  Staff  Artiste,  All  India  Radio,  Delhi  for  five  years. 

Concert  tours  abroad  :  USA,  Canada,  UK  and  France. 

Honours  &  Titles          :  Kalaimamani  by  Tamil  Nadu  lyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram 

in  1986. 

Nadakkanal  by  Nadakkanal  (Bharat  Kalachar),  Madras 

in  1988. 

*  *      * 



A  prominent  veena  vidwan  of  Trivandrum,  Sankaranarayana  Bhagavatar 
was  the  elder  brother  of  Suchindram  Padmanabha  Bhagavatar.  Had  his  training 
under  Sathu  Bhagavatar,  a  palace  musician.  T.  Lakshmana  Pillai  of  Travancore 
pays  rich  tributes  to  Sankaranarayana  Bhagavatar,  his  guru. 

*  *     * 


(b.  Jany.  9,  1911) 

Place  of  birth  :          Ambalapuzha,  Kerala 

Panicker  had  his  training  in  nagaswaram  with  P.S.  Veeruswami  Pillai  of 
Tiruvidaimarudur,  who  is  seen  to  have  had  K.  Gopalakrishna  Panicker 
(b.  Novr.  11  1914),  K.  Gopalakrishna  Panicker  (b.  1919)  and  K.  Chellappa 
Panicker  (b.  1924),  the  latter  two  being  called  the  Haripad  Brothers  also,  as  his 
disciples  from  Kerala.  Pillai  had  thus  helped  in  inducting  the  high  standard  of 


nagaswara  rendition  in  Kerala.  Panicker  had  ample  scope  to  hear  the  different 
styles  of  other  maestros  of  the  Tanjore  Delta. 

Tiruvizha  Jayasankar,  a  popular  nagaswaram  vidwan,  is  among  the 
disciples  of  Sankaranarayana  Panicker. 

Disc  recordings: 

Concert  tour:  Sri  Lanka. 

*     *     * 

C.S.  SANKARA  SIVAM  -  VOCO  PERCUSSIONIST  :  (b  June  28,  1908) 

A  respected  artiste  and  teacher  who  had  shaped  the  musical  aspirations  and 
destinies  of  many  in  the  twin  fields  of  vocal  music  and  mridangam.  His  disciples 
include  his  son,  C.S.  Murugabhupathy,  Ramnad  Eswaran  and  Raghavan  in 
mridangam,  and  Ramnad  Krishnan  and  T.N.  Seshagopalan  in  vocal  music. 
Sankara  Sivam  is  in  the  direct  line  of  the  disciples  of  Tyagaraja  through 
Manambuchavadi  Venkatasubba  Ayyar,  T.S.  Sabhesa  Ayyar,  Sivasamban  and 
Harikesanallur  Muthiah  Bhagavatar  with  whom  he  had  his  musical  training  for  a 
full  decade.  He  was  versatile  on  violin,  veena  and  jalatarangam  and  was  a 
prominent  vidwan  in  South  Tamil  Nadu.  Sankara  Sivam  was  Principal,  Madurai 
Sri  Sadguru  Samajam,  Member,  Music  Academy  Experts'  Committee  and  had 
been  on  AIR  Audition  Board  and  Madurai  University  Syllabus  Committee. 

Parents  :    Chitsabhai  Servai,  Ramnad  and  Pappammal. 

Titles  &  Honours         :     Madura  Kala  Pravina  from  Sadguru  Sabha,  Madurai 

Kalaimamani  from  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram 
Samasthana  Vidwan,  Ramnad  1 945 

Honoured  by  Mummurthi  Vizha  Committee, 

Tiruvarur  1 991 

Concert  tour  :     Sri  Lanka. 

B.V.K.  SASTRY  -  MUSICOLOGIST:    .  (b.1916) 

Place  of  birth  :         Nanjangud,  Karnataka 

Musical  training  under :         Chikka  Rama  Rao,  Asthana  Vidwan,  Mysore  Palace. 

A  multi-faceted  person,  Sastry  got  a  diploma  in  painting  like  Madras 
S.  Rajam.  He  enhanced  his  knowledge  and  talents  in  music  by  contacts  with 
professionals.  He  is  conversant  with  different  other  arts  like  bommalattam 
(puppet-play),  dancing,  etc.  Learnt  Hindustani  music  too.  Sastri  has  been 
contributing  numerous  articles  on  music,  dance,  etc.,  for  over  thirty  years  to  the 
Illustrated  Weekly  of  India,  Economic  Times,  etc.  He  was  in  the  Treasury 
Department  of  the  State  Government.  His  articles  have  clarity  and  depth. 

Sastry  is  connected  with  many  institutions  like: 
Lalit  Kala  Academy,  Sangeet  Natak  Akademy, 


Karnataka  State  Sangeet  Natak  Academy, 

Bharatiya  Musicological  Sangeetha  Sadas, 

All  India  Radio  Audition  Board  and  research  bodies. 

Honours  &  Titles: 

Akashwani  Annual  Award 

Sangeet  Natak  Akademy  Senior  Cultural  Fellowship. 
Certificate  of  Merit  from  the  Music  Academy,  Madras. 
Gana  Kala  Bhushana  from  Bangalore  Gayana  Samajam. 
Honours  from  the  Karnataka  Nritya  Academy,  1 987-88. 


Third  of  the  distinguished  Mysore  Brothers  and  son  of  Ramalinga  Ayya  and 
Varalakshmi  Amma,  Satyanarayana  learnt  music  from  his  mother  and  his  elder 
brother  R.  Ghandrasekhariah.  He  took  his  M.Sc.  from  the  Mysore  University 
and  became  Professor  of  Chemistry,  Sarada  Vilas  College.  Got  his  D.Lit.  He 
has  been  giving  lectures  on  music  in  and  outside  India  and  has  authored  many 
articles  and  books.  'Kudumiamalai  Inscriptions  on  Music'  one  of  his  works  was 
published  by  the  Varalakshmi  Academies  of  Fine  Arts,  Mysore,  jointly 
established  by  him  and  his  elder  brother.  He  is  a  Member  of  many  associations 
like  the  American  Ethnomusicological  Society. 

SAVITRI  RAJAN  -  MUSICOLOGIST:  (1908  -  May  6, 

Daughter  of  Dr.  Seethapathi  Ayyar  and  a  disciple  of  Tiger  Varadachariar  and 
Veenai  Dhanammal,  Savitri  Rajan  chose  to  refrain  from  giving  concerts  but  was 
giving  lecture-demonstrations.  Has  published  'Sobillu  Saptaswara\  a  music 
primer  in  colloborationwith  Michael  and  brought  out  the  documentary  The  Flying 
Bird',.  A  cassette  recording  based  on  her  publication  titled  'The  Splenderous 
Seven  Notes'  has  also  been  released.  Nadopasana  was  her  passionate 

L.R  record:  'Homage  to  my  Guru  Veena  Dhanam'  -  a  veena  recital. 

if          *          * 


(Reigned  1798 -1832) 

Adopted  son  of  Raja  Tulajaji  (1764-1787),  Serfoji  ascended  the  gadi  at  the 
age  of  nine  to  be  promptly  deposed  by  Amar  singh.  He  got  back  the  throne  in 
1799  but  it  was  the  physical  possession  of  the  gadf  sans  power.  Neither  he 
reigned  in  reality  nor  did  he  rule.  He  had  to  meekly  surrender  the  principality 


for  a  pension  and  a  life  of  robust  leisure!  He  played  to  the  tune  set  by  the  British 
and  constructed  the  monument  'Manora'  on  the  sea  -  coast  near  Sethubhava- 
chatram  to  celebrate  the  success  of  the  British  over  Napoleon  at  Waterloo  in 
1 81 4!  But  the  political  non-entity  was  a  prince  among  cultured  elites.  The  fine 
distinction  between  rulers  like  Rajah  Serfoji  and  Swati  Tirunal  Maharajah  and 
others  elsewhere  in  their  conduct  subsequent  to  the  loss  of  power  has  to  be  kept 
in  view.  While  Serfoji,  etc.,  turned  to  art,  architecture,  sculpture,  music, 
literature,  etc.,  several  ex-rulers  enjoyed  the  fruits  of  pension  without  responsi- 
bility. While  the  former  patronised  artistes,  constructed  libraries,  etc.,  the  others 
amassed  varieties  in  zenanas  !  It  is  to  the  pristine  glory  of  the  fprmer  that  their 
sober,  native  wishes  never  learnt  to  stray!  From  the  view  point  of  culture,  the 
loss  of  power  was  indeed  a  blessing.  Probably  like  Napolean,  he  too  should 
have  thought  that  'the  throne  is  but  a  piece  of  wood  covered  with  velvet';  but 
unlike  him,  inscribed  his  name  in  the  eternal  pages  of  cultural  history! 

Serfoji's  claim  to  distinction  primarily  lies  in  making  the  Saraswati  Mahal 
Library  a  storehouse  of  knowledge  and  research.  The  library,  of  course,  was 
there  before,  called  the  'Saraswati  Bhandaram'  but  it  is  to  his  magnificent  vision 
and  foresight,  its  elevation  and  glory  are  indebted.  The  library  houses  30000 
Sanskrit,  2500  telugu,  5000  marathi,  2000  tamil  and  500  in  other  languages 
books  of  varied  importance.  Manuscripts  acquired  by  him  were  attested  by  him 
which  indicates  his  love  of  books  etc.  Keenly  devoted  to  medicine  and  science, 
he  instituted  the  Dhanwantri  Mahal,  gathered  eminent  physicians  and  compiled 
highly  valuable  prescriptions  for  ills  and  diseases  in  eighteen  volumes. 

An  ardent  devotee  of  music  and  patron  of  musicians  and  composers,  his 
period  saw  the  Carnatic  Trinity,  Tanjore  Quartette,  Kottaiyur  Sivakolundu 
Desikhar  of  Sarabhendra  Kuravanji  and  Abhirami  Bhattar  of  Abhirami  Anthadi. 
His  Western  orientation  drew  him  towards  Western  music  and  he  started  the 
famous  Tanjore  Palace  Band.  Nava  Vidya  Kalanidhi  was  started  to  give  training 
in  oriental  learning.  Shorn  of  political  power  and  administration,  his  interests 
and  talents  were  'amazingly  varied  and  the  varied  subjects  found  an  abundant 
place  in  his  capable  and  capacious  intellect'.  He  had  360  musicians  attached 
to  his  court.  He  was  himself  a  very  good  writer  and  composer.  His  compositions 
included  — 

Radhakrishna  Vilasa,  Ganesa  Lilarnava, 

Mohini  Mahesa  Parinaya,  Devendra  Kuravanji  Nataka, 

Ganga  Visveswara  Parinayam,  Ganesa  Vijayam, 

Kiratarjuna  Nimpana  and  Tristalli  Tirtha  Yatra  Lavani  and  dance  pieces  in  marathi, 

His  nirupanas  present  a  single  theme  with  different  dance  pieces.    'He  seems 
to  be  the  first  composer  of  recent  times  to  introduce  the  ekartha  -  single  theme 
concept  in  dance  compositions,  the  features  of  which  would  seem  to  be  the, 
precursors  of  most  of  the  compositions  of  the  compact  series  later  delineated  i 


by  the  Tanjore  Quartette'.  Each  nirupana  has  Jaya  Jaya,  Sharanu,  Alaru,  Sollu, 
Sabda,  Varna,  Pada,  Swarajati,  Abhinaya  pada,  Tillana,  Jakkini,  Geeta, 
Prabandha,  Triputa,  Shlokavarna,  Kauta  and  Mangala,  (Suchetha  Chapekar). 

The  galaxy  who  adorned  his  court  included: 

Sonti  Venkatararnanayya 
Tanjore  Quartette 
Ghanam  Krishna  Ayyar 
Anai  -  Ayya  (Viriboni) 
Venkatasubba  Ayyar 
Vedanayakam  Piliai  and 
Paidala  Gurumurti  Sastri 

It  would  appear  that  each  one  of  the  360  musicians  had  his  turn  on  a  particular 
day  for  special  concert  at  the  palace. 

Thus  Serfoji  has  been  immortalised  by  the  grace  of  Goddess  Saraswati 
though  disowned  by  Goddess  Parvati  having  been  sustained  with  pomp  and 
glory  by  Goddess  Lakshmi! 

VEENA!  SESHA  AYYAR  -  VAINIKA  &  COMPOSER;    (fo.September  21, 1921) 

Place  of  birth  :          Madurai 

Parents  :          S.  Ramakrishna  Ayyar,  a  connoisseur  of  music  and 

R.  Subbulakshmi,  a  classical  singer 

General  Qualification  ;          B.Sc.  (Maths),  B.Sc.(Eng),  RLE.,  F.I.P.  E., 

Chartered  Engineer. 

Post  held  :          Chief  Engineer  in  the  Defence  Services  (since  retired). 

Training  in  music  Trivandrum  Krishna  Bhagavatar  and 

under  :          M.A.  Kalyanakrishna  Bhagavatar  -  both  eminent 


Debut  :          Chamber  Concert  before  G.N.  Balasubramaniam  and 

his  guru  in  1941. 

Tours  :          Lecture-Demonstrations  in  Minnepolis,  USA  in  1986. 

A  gentleman  of  profound  grace  and  robust  culture,  Sesha  Ayyar  is  multi- 
faceted.  His  late  wife  and  a  daughter  on  veena  and  another  daughter  with 
bharatanatyam  presented  an  ideal  home  humming  with  art  and  music  and  Sesha 
Ayyar  presided  over  it  for  long  and  continues  to  maintain  that  atmosphere  now 
with  disciples.  He  is  a  composer  of  merit  and  elegance  in  tamil,  telugu  and 
Sanskrit.  His  first  publication  titled  'Nritya  Geetanjali'  -  Part  I  containing 
jatiswarams,  padams,  pada  varnams,  javalis  and  tillanas  was  released 
appropriately  by  Nritya  Choodamani  Kamala  Lakshman  on  January  16,  1990, 
Several  of  his  compositions  have  been  successfully  performed  by  artistes  of 
merit  already.  His  songs  have  won  high  approbation  from  danseuses,  art-lovers 


and  critics  of  standing  like  T.S.  Parthasarathy  and  K.S.  Mahadevan. 
Swamimalai  Rajarethinam,  one  of  the  foremost  authorities  on  bharatanatya, 
spoke  eloquently  on  the  fine  and  delectable  concepts,  sublime  sentiments, 
emotive  situations  and  artistic  contrivances  in  the  songs  enabling  dancers  to 
bring  out  their  artistic  genius,  emotional  instincts  to  full  focus.  Sesha  Ayyar 
takes  the  interest  and  trouble  to  guide  the  artistes  in  the  finer  intricacies,  the 
underlying  bhava  and  rasa  and  the  varied  scope  for  portrayal. 

'Nritya  Geetanjali'  Part  II  containing  pushpanjali,  alarippu,  kauvuthams, 
padams,  etc.,  in  seven  languages  is  due  for  release  shortly.  The  innovative 
compositions  excel  in  prosodic  finesse  brimming  with  emotional  themes,  poetic 
and  dramatic  appeal  and  thrilling  potential  for  succinct  portrayals  by  artistes. 
Ayyar  has  indented  and  drawn  on  his  expertise  in  the  rhythm  of  veenato  present 
measured  rhythm  and  studied  melody  in  complementary  roles  while  presenting 
his  dance  pieces  to  the  world  of  bharatanatya.  Thoughtful  conception,  selection 
of  apt  episodes  from  epics  and  spiritual  treatises,  appropriate  ragas^and  graces 
embellish  his  compositions.  The  skill  of  an  engineer  in  the  musician  -  composer 
ensures  precision,  consummate  artistry  and  performance  audit  -  a  case  of 
'Dance-Music  Engineering1. 

V.P.  Dhananjayan  of  Bharata  Kalanjali  feels  that  'it  is  a  dire  necessity  to 
induct  new  streams  of  lyrics  and  music  to  dance  as  practitioners  are  increasing 
day  by  day  and  in  that  context  too,  Ayyar's  compositions  are  most  welcome'. 
There  are  not  many  composers  of  eminence  of  songs  for  bharatanatya  today 
and  Sesha  Ayyar's  efforts  and  contribution  demand  special  approbation.  Plato 
insisted  on  a  knowledge  of  music  and  mathematics  for  admission  to  his  school. 
Sesha  Ayyar  is  an  apt  and  ideal  candidate  Plato  would  have  been  glad  to  take 
in  -  not  as  a  mere  student  but  as  a  tutor ! 

Veena  Sesha  Ayyar  is  choreographer,  photographer,  portrait  painter  and  a 
musicologist  which  help  him  to  visualise  from  different  angles,  moods,  bhavas 
and  other  finer  aspects  which  enter  into  the  theme  of  his  songs.  Ayyar  is  a 
restless  soul  soaked  in  fragrant  art. 

KOMANDURI  SESHADRI  -  VIOLINIST:  (b.  Jany.  31 ,  1949  ) 

An  off-spring  of  a  hereditary  musical  family,  Komanduri  Seshadri,  son  of 
Ananthacharyulu  and  Kanakammal  was  born  at  Guntur.  He  is  a  Lecturer  in 
Violin,  G.V.R.  Music  College,  Vijayawada  for  the  last  sixteen  years.  Has  been 
giving  concerts  for  over  two  decades  in  vocal,  violin  and  viola  on  the  All  India 
Radio  and  elsewhere. 

Academic  Qualification  :       Bachelor  of  Commerce. 

Training  and  Initial  training  under  father,  a  vainika  and  paternal  uncle 

qualification  in  music      :       Thirumalacharyulu,  also  a  vainika. 


Diploma  in  Violin  and  vocal,  Andhra  University 


Master's  Degree  in  Music  from  Mysore  University  1973. 

Advanced  training  under  M.  Chandrasekharan, 
the  prominent  violinist 

K.  Seshadri  has  been  giving  lecture-demonstrations  in  different  languages 
and  has  established  a  record  for  twenty-four  hour  non-stop  singing  of 
Tyagabrahma  kritis  in  1988.  His  sons  K.A.S.  Rajan  and  K.V.  Krishna,  both  in 
their  teens,  are  his  disciples  and  have  been  giving  voco-violin  concerts. 

S.  SESHAGIRI  RAO  -  VIOLINIST:  (b.  1944) 

Father :  S.V.  Subba  Rao 

Seshagiri  Rao  had  his  training  with  his  father  and  enlarged  the  scope  of  his 
violin  play  and  skill  by  constantly  hearing  prominent  violinists.  Rao  was  an 
artiste  with  All  India  Radio  and  is  a  competent  accompanist. 


"Ludwig  van  Beethoven  had  planned  to  dedicate  his  Third  Symphony,  one  of  the 
towering  landmarks  of  Western  Music,  to  Nepoleon,  but  struck  the  dedication  from  the 
title  page  of  the  manuscript  when  he  heard  that  Nepoleon  had  crowned  himself 

Beethoven  used  his  art  to  express  his  revolutionary  spirit  in  a  way  that  no  previous 
artist  has  done.  Has  any  one  done  so  later? 

When  Nepoleon  bombarded  Vienna  in  1809,  Beethoven  had  to  protect  his  ears  with 
pillows  to  protect  his  already  damaged  hearing. 

*      *      * 

"I  have  read  your  lousy  review  of  Margaret's  concert.  I've  come  to  the  conclution 
that  you  are  an  'eight  ulcer  man  on  four  ulcer  pay*...  Some  day  I  hope  to  see  you. 
When  that  happens,  you'll  need  a  new  nose,  a  lot  of  beef-steak  for  black  eyes  and 
perhaps  a  supporter  below." 

—  President  Harry  S.  Truman  -  in  response  to  Washington  Post  critic  Pant  Hume's 
review  of  a  concert  by  Margaret  Truman,  Time  18  .  12  .  1950.  (Encyclopaedia  of 
Music  -Alan  Blackwood  -  Wardlock  Ltd.,  London.) 


VEEN  A  SESHANNA  -  VEENA  MAESTRO:  (1850  -  1926) 

I  What  Bradman  was  to  cricket,"  Seshanna  was  to  veena.  Veena  and  Seshanna  were 
synonymous.  He  was  a  nadayogi  who  lived  like  a  colossus  in  the  field  of  veena. ' 

—  K.  Srikantiah 

II  His  music  flowed  like  sweet  honey.  Seshanna  did  hot  believe  in  depth  or  intensity.  He 
played  on  the  veena  and  with  it.  His  regal  mien  and  the  joy  he  diffused  all  around  him 
by  his  own  ecstasy  was  nothing  if  not  contagious.  His  nimble  fingers  flew  up  and  down 
the  octave,  weaving  figures  of  three's  and  four'?  like  a  dummy  horse  drum  and  came 
to  a  stop  with  a  bang,  striking  the  four  strings  together. " 

—  (R.  Rangaramanuja  Ayyangar) 

Karnataka  has  always  had  a  fancy  for  veena  and  patronage  of  Mysore 
Royalty  to  vainikas  has  been  proverbial.  The  golden  age  of  cultural  renaissance 
in  Mysore  reached  its  peak,  according  to  Prof.  R.N.  Doreswami,  during  the 
reigns  of  - 

Mummadi  Krishnaraja  Wodeyar  1 794  - 1 868 

Chamaraja  Wodeyar  1 863  -  1 894 

Nalvadi  Krishnaraja  Wodeyar  1 884  - 1 940  and 

Jayachamaraja  Wodeyar  1 91 9  -  1 974. 

Broadly  speaking  according  to  the  learned  Professor,  three  styles  were  in 
vogue,  viz.,  Tanjore,  Mysore  and  Andhra  -  with  the  following  characteristics: 

Tanjore  Style: 

Bass  tonal  quality  as  a  result  of  using  thick  guage  strings  and  tuning  to  a  low 
key  (sruti);  vilamba  laya  with  long  curves  produced  by  deflecting  the  strings. 
Masculine  in  quality  with  more  accent  on  vocal-based  rendering. 

Mysore  style: 

Sweet  tonal  quality  with  sharpness  and  clarity  comparable  to  female  voice. 
Thinner  guage  strings  tuned  to  a  higher  key;  fingering  and  plucking  harmonious 
and  melodious  by  using  the  tripanchaka  gamaka  on  all  the  three  strings, 
Madhya  laya  mostly  and  also  druta  laya.  Tana  had  a  special  place. 

Andhra  Style: 

Resembled  the  Tanjore  style  but  it  has  become  a  combination  of  the  other 

M.J.  Srinivasa  Ayyangar  opines  that  vocalization  of  veena  is  the  main 
characteristic  of  the  Mysore  style.  Perhaps  'all  said  and  done,  it  is  only  one  style 
—  veena  style'. 


Veena  Seshanna  was  the  foremost  of  veena  artistes  of  Karnataka  and  hailec 
from  a  long  line  of  vainikas.   Son  of  Veena  Bakshi  Chikkaramappa,  a  vainita 
and  asthana  vidwan,  Seshanna  had  his  training  in  veena  and  vocal  with  his 
father.  A  prodigy,  he  played  a  complex  pallavi  at  the  age  of  ten  in  the  presence 
of  the  Maharaja  and  vidwans  on  a  Shivaratri  day  and  came  to  royal  notice,  Was 
an  acknowledged  player  in  his  twenties.   His  'meetu'  -  plucking  of  the  string 
was  mature,  his  imaginative  rendering  attractive  and  his  tala  immaculate.  Wher 
he  lost  his  father  at  the  age  of  sixteen,  Seshanna  continued  his  training  witt 
Dodda  Seshanna  in  veena  and  vocal  with  the  renowned  Mysore  Sadasiva  Rao 
As  umpires  do  in  cricket  to  count  the  balls  bowled,  his  sister  would  keep  tamariru 
seeds  to  count  the  number  of  times  he  practised  avarthas  and  his  rigorou: 
practice  was  comparable  to  those  of  Tirukodikaval  Krishna  Ayyar  and  Dwaran 
Venkataswami  Naidu  -  violinists,  Venkataramana  Das  and  Sangameswar; 
Sastri    -   vainikas    and   Konerirajapuram   Vaidyanatha   Ayyar,    the   vocalisl 
Seshanna  was  an  adept  in  playing  on  violin,  sitar,  swarabat,  organ,  piano,  am 
jaltarang  also  and  would  give  flill-scale  concerts  on  them.     He  masterei 
Hindustani  and  Western  music  and  so  would  give  varied  concerts.  He  enjoye 
others'  music  and  rewarded  them  too. 

He  was  the  kingpin,  centre  of  attraction  in  all  musical  endeavours  i 
Karnataka,  was  asthana  vidwan,  Mysore  and  was  honoured  by  the  Gaekwad  c 
Baroda  with  a  palanquin!  His  ve$na  play  was  pleasing;  played  rapid  passage 
of  flageolet  notes.  He  introduced  the  use  of  different  fingers  to  produce  note 
in  ascending  and  descending  series.  'He  was  playing  not  so  much  on  the  string 
of  the  veena  as  on  the  heart-string^  of  the  audience'.  It  was  all  due  to  his  innat 
genius  and  the  hard  discipline  to  which  he  and  his  co-disciple  Subbanna  ha 
been  subjected  to  by  his  well-meaning  sister  Venkamma.  After  all,  he  was  nc 
born  with  a  silver  spoon  in  his  moutyi  like  Bakshi  Subbanna,  another  maestn 
Seshanna  used  to  reminisce, 

There  was  a  time  when  I  used  tp  roam  about  in  the  streets  of  Mysore  carryir 
the  veena  on  my  shoulders  locking  for  homes  where  festoons  were  exhibit* 
outside  for  chance  invitation  to  play  on  veena.  I  have  also  given  many  concer 
for  as  low  a  fee  as  Rs.  five. '  —  K,  Sri  kantia 

If  Venkamma  at  home  insisted  on  macro  practice,  guru  Dodda  Seshanr 
was  a  match  for  her  in  insisting  on  a  very  high  degree  of  proficiency  ar 
specialisation  by  practice.  His  nod  of  appreciation  or  satisfaction  would  n 
come  easily.  To  borrow  the  words  of  Nedunurt  Krishnamurti,  he  'taught  mus 
and  not  songs'.  Once,  Seshanna  did  rigorous  practice  of  tanas  but  the  gun 
nod  was  not  forthcoming  even  after  four  days!  The  disciple  murmured. 

( Who  is  there?  Get  me  my  veena',  thundered  the  guru, 

'  Sit  down  Seshanna;  let  me  play  for  you.  You  may  find  out  for  yourself  whether  yc 
practice  is  enough.' 


The  boy  having  listened  with  tears  rolling  down  his  cheeks,  stood  up  and  in  choked  voice 
with  his  upper  cloth  tied  round  his  waist  confessed  - 

1  Sir,  I  had  the  conceit  to  think  that  nobody  else  practised  as  hard  as  I  did.  Pray,  forgive 

Dodda  Seshanna  softened  and  said: 

'  Look,  my  dear  Seshanna!  If  I  was  hard  on  you,  it  was  only  because  I  was  interested  in 
your  progress.  I  used  to  practice  each  tana  a  hundred  times.  Only  he  who  practised 
the  hard  way  acquires  this  art.' 

Seshanna  was  a  devoted  disciple;  he  practised  and  achieved  profound  skill, 
expertise  and  proficiency.  Vasudevacharya  says  that  the  audience  sat 
spellbound  when  Seshanna  played.  Seshanna  had  also  given  violin 
accompaniment  to  Vasudevacharya,  his  disciple  and  had  played  jalatarangam 
at  the  royal  court.  The  multi-faceted  genius  placed  Mysore  on  the  musical  map 
of  India  and  his  name  is  cherished  to  this  day.  Mysore  was  a  beehive  of  high 
musical  activity  during  his  days.  And  his  tall  stature  and  fame  did  not  dislodge 
his  liberal  piety  and  spiritual  attributes.  His  lofty  approach  to  veena  was  clearly 
spiritual.  He  said: 

'  A  good  veena  recital  should  witness  more  tonal  quality  and  be  soft  and 
soothing  -  madhuram  veenamnltam  panchama  subhagascha  kokllalapaha. 
Extraneous  sound  from  frets  and  strings  should  never  jar  the  ear.1 

Sankarabharana,  Kalyani,  Khamas,  Begada  and  Kedaragoula  were  favourite 
ragas  with  him.  His  layajnana  was  very  sharp  and  precise;  would  play  scores 
of  avartas  without  counting  by  hand.  His  fame  spread  far  and  wide. 

Like  the  Gaekwad  of  Baroda,  the  Rajah  of  Ramnad  honoured  him  by  asking 
him  to  give  a  week-long  concert.  The  rulers  of  Gwalior,  Indore,  Bhopal, 
Pudukottai  and  Gadwal  showered  gifts  and  honours  on  him.  King  George  V 
(then  Prince  of  Wales)  was  so  charmed  that  he  took  back  with  him  a  portrait  of 
Seshanna;  and  Mahatma  Gandhi  heard  him  play  for  long  hours!  There  was  in 
his  rendition  spiritual  message  and  appeal  to  the  soul  decidedly!  E.R.  Sethuram 
of  Mysore  writes  that  it  was  said  that  he  got  more  than  forty  todas,  innumerable 
necklaces,  hundreds  of  diamond  rings,  etc.  (There  was  no  Income-tax  or  Wealth 
Tax  !)  As  if  his  name  could  not  be  weighed  against  all  these  and  the  fame  he 
commands  still,  Ganabharati,  Mysore  has  erected  a  fine  auditorium  dedicated 
to  him  and  brought  out  a  souvenir  in  1991.  There  are  stalwart  disciples  of 
Seshanna  in  Prof.  R.N.  Doreswamy,  V.  Doreswamy  lyengar  and  M.J.  Srinivasa 
lyengar  besides  the  late  Vasudevachar  to  carry  on  his  message. 

He  was  a  composer  too.  His  compositions  comprise  eleven  swarajatis,  nine 
varnas,  sixteen  kritis  and  seventeen  tillanas.  Five  are  in  kannada  and  the  rest 
are  in  telugu.  They  are  rich  in  raga  bhava  and  scope  for  gamakas  and  he  has 
availed  of  rare  tajas  and  rare  ragas  in  ragamalikas.  His  signature  is  'Sesha'. 


Veena  Venkataramana  Das  was  a  cousin  of  his  in  the  third  degree.  Weil-versed 
in  astrology,  he  is  credited  with  forecasting  the  date  of  his  death,  July  25, 1926. 

Seshanna  enjoyed  an  imposing  personality  and  would  look  like  a  sage  on 
the  stage.  Veena  was  his  breath.  In  line  with  the  description  of  the  Lord  by 
Tyagaraja  'Oka  mata,  oka  banamu,  oka  pathni  vruthude',  Seshanna's  one  world 
was  veena,  his  arrow  of  unfailing  direction  was  his  handling  the  instrument  and 
in  short,  his  wedding  with  veena  was  sublime  and  total. 

The  advent,  eminence  and  popularity  of  Seshanna  gave  a  marked  tilt  in 
favour  of  vainikas  in  Karnataka  which  enjoys  a  rich  crop  of  veena  artistes  still. 


Place  of  birth  :          Mysore 

Father  &  Guru  :          Khande  Dasappa 

Seshappa  has  had  wide  practice  and  was  Asthana  Vidwan,  Mysore  Court, 
He  presided  over  the  Karnataka  Gana  Kala  Parishat  Conference  in  1991  and 
was  conferred  with  the  title  of  'Gana  Kala  Bhooshana'.  He  pleaded  with 
musicians  at  the  conference  to  have  konnakol,  kanjira  or  ghatam  as  additional 
accompaniment  as  these  are  languishing  for  want  of  adequate  patronage  and 
with  the  organisers  to  disburse  the  remuneration  to  the  side  accompanists  direct 
and  not  channelise  it  through  the  chief  artiste  since  in  many  cases  the  quota  of 
water  released  from  the  reservoir  does  not  reach  the  fields  to  the  benefit  of  which 
it  is  let  out!  Part  or  the  whole  of  it  gets  impounded  illicitly  en  route  \  (It  is  criminal 
misappropriation  he  referred  to.) 

Seshappa  exhibited  percussive  talents  even  in  his  sixth  year.  As  mridangam 
was  becoming  popular  in  Karnataka  in  the  thirties,  he  switched  over  from  tabla 
to  mridangam.  Has  accompanied  prominent  musicians  and  was  State  Examiner 
for  Examinations.  A  talented  artiste. 

TANJORE  SETHURAMA  RAO  -  MRIDANGIST:  (c.1850  - 1920) 

A  famous  mridangist  in  Kerala,  Sethurama  Rao  had  given  accompaniment 
to  distinguished  musicians  like  Coimbatore  Raghava  Ayyar  and  Parameswara 
Bhagavatar.  He  was  getting  financial  aid  from  Travancore  Government.  His  play 
had  lesser  'meettus'and  more  of  'purattals'and  was  known  for  loud  projections. 
Would  not  take  on  solo  (tani) !  Probably  he  was  unique  in  this  sphere.  The  reason 
for  the  surrender  of  a  privilege  is  not  known. 


S.  SHANKAR  -  VOCALIST:  (20th  Cent) 

A  popular  vocalist,  Shankar  has  been  giving  concerts  for  over  two  decades. 
He  learnt  music  with  Vallabham  Kalyanasundaram  and  had  been  graded  'A'  with 
AH  India  Radio.  He  is  an  Auditor  in  the  office  of  the  Accountant-General. 


(b.  July  17,  1915) 

Son  of  Rathinam  Pillai,  Shanmugam  Pillai  had  his  training  in  tavil  under 
Tiruvalaputhur  Pasupathi  Tavilkarar  and  later  under  Needamangalam 
Meenakshisundaram  Pillai.  Was  accompanist  to  stalwart  nagaswara  artistes  like 
P.S.  Veeruswami  Pillai  and  Tiruvizhimalalai  Brothers.  Has  received  appreciation 
from  a  wide  circle  of  admirers  and  the  title  of  'Kalaimamani'from  the  Tamil  Nadu 
Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram  in  1974 

VOCALIST/PEDAGOGUE:  (b.Septr.15,  1937) 

Rich  voice,  chaste  pronunciation,  aesthetic  presentation  and  passionate 
faith  in  Tamil  Isai  qualify  the  successful  life  of  S.  Shanmughasuhdaram,  who 
hails  from  a  hereditary  family  of  instrumental  musicians  and  a  village  noted  for 
its  role  in  the  field  of  drama  and  music.  Tiruppamburam  in  Tanjore  district  is  just 
two  kilometers  from  the  author's  village  and  is  surrounded  by  musical  cradles 
like  Mudicondan,  Keeranur,  Tiruvizhimalalai  and  Kothavasal. 

Parents  :          N.  Somasundaram  &  Pattammal  (Sangita  Kalanidhi 

T.N.  Swaminatha  Pillai  was  his  paternal  uncle.) 

Musical  Training          :          First  under  his  father. 

Sangeetha  Vidwan  diploma  from  the  Government  Music 

College,  Madras. 

Isai  Mani  Course  at  the  Tamil  Isai  Kalloori,  Madras. 

Attended  a  course  at  the  Sangeetha  Vadyalaya  of 

Prof.R  Sambamurti. 

Teacher's  Training  Certificate. 

Posts  held  : 

Inspector  of  Music  Schools  under  T.N.  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram. 

Lecturer,  Government  Music  College,  Madras. 

Professor/Principal,  Government  Music  College,  Madurai 

Principal,  Government  Music  College  (now  Training  Centre),  Madras  since  1988. 

Member,  University  Music  Boards. 


Disc  recordings: 
Publications  : 

Tamil  !sai  Nunukkam 
Keertanai  lyal. 

Honours  &  Titles : 

Kalaimamani,  Isai  Kalai  Selvar, 

Perumbana  Nambi,  Tamil  Isai  Mavendar, 

Isaimamani,  Sangita  Sagaram. 

Shanmughasundaram  conducted  a  music  school  named  'Saraswati 
Carnataka  Music  School'  and  a  music  sabha  called  'Swara  Ragalaya'.  He  takes 
creditable  role  in  spreading  Tamil  Isai  and  starting  Irai  Isai  Pani  Mandram  and 
Tamil  Isai  Valarchi  Mandram.  Has  been  taking  part  in  seminars  and  presenting 
concerts  in  addition  to  his  collegiate  responsibilities.  Enjoys  pleasant  receptivity, 
An  enjoyable  voice  and  a  good  repertoire  of  tamil  songs  are  his  forte. 


(b.ApriI2,  1914) 

Born  at  Valangiman  (from  which  hailed  the  eminent  V.S.Srinivasa  Sastri),  of 
Arumugham  Pillai,  Shanmughasundaram  Pillai  had  his  training  under  his  father, 
and  his  brother  and  later  under  the  renowned  Nachiarkoil  Raghava  Pillai.  He 
was  a  leading  vidwan  for  five  decades  and  a  popular  one. 

He  is  a  Vice  President  of  the  Tyagabrahma  Mahotsava  Sabha.  Has  visited 
Sri  Lanka.  The  Music  Academy,  Madras  honoured  him  in  1 977  with  a  Certificate 
of  Merit  and  the  Sangeet  Natak  Akademy,  Delhi  conferred  on  him  the  Akademy 
Award  in  1985. 

SHANTA  NARASIMHAN  -  VEENA  ARTISTE  :  (b.September  22,  1938) 

Born  at  Bangalore,  of  Janardhana  lyengar,  a  prominent  veena  vidwan  and 
a  disciple  of  Veena  Venkatagiriappa  of  Mysore,  Shanta  Narasimhan  had  her 
initial  training  with  her  father.  She  had  training  in  vocal  music  under  R.  Shankara 
Murthy  and  R.K.  Srikantan.  Made  her  debut  in  1960  at  Sri  Ramapuram  Rama 
Mandiram,  Bangalore  during  the  Ramotsava.  She  is  giving  a  large  number  of 
concerts  on  the  All  India  Radio  and  elsewhere. 

Concert  tours  :  U.K.  USA  and  Canada. 


SHASHANK  -  PRECOCIOUS  FLAUTIST:  (b.October  14,  1978) 

Place  of  birth  :  Rudrapatnam,  Karnataka  -  a  nursery  of  musicians. 

Parents  :  M.N.Subramanyam  &  A.A.Hemalata. 

Musical  training  under :         Preliminary  training  under  father,  a  disciple  of  Dindigul 


R.KSrikantan  for  three  years 
K.V.,Narayanaswamy  for  3  V£  years. 

Thirteen-year  old  Shashank  is  now  a  student  in  the  VII I  standard  and  already 
he  is  a  well-known  flautist.  Made  his  debut  at  Adelaide,  Australia  on  September 
30, 1 990  (in  a  hurry  not  to  wait  for  the  dawn  in  the  Indian  subcontinent  four  hours 
later!)  and  in  India  at  the  Sastri  Hall  on  December  20,  1990  for  Sruti  Laya  Seva 
of  Karaikudi  Mani.  It  is  said  that  when  Flute  Mali  heard  six-year  old  Shashank 
play  the  flute,  he  advised  that  Shashank  should  be  given  training  in  vocal  music 
allowing  him  to  develop  his  own  style  in  flute  and  his  advice  probably  had  its 
striking  results.  The  boy's  self-evident  musical  talents  in  the  garden  and  care  of 
a  musically-trained  father  soon  began  to  assert  and  he  became  a  sensation 
when  he  entered  the  concert  stage  in  1990. 

The  most  prolific  of  all  Western  composers,  Wolfgang  Amadeus  Mozart  was 
noted  for  his  legendary  speed  of  composition  and  at  six,  his  piano  play  was  a 
feat.'  Many  child  prodigies  have  adorned  the  Indian  panorama  like  the  glittering 
Flute  Mali  (T.R.  Mahalingam),  Veena  Seshanna,  S.G.  Kittappa,  Tiruvarur 
Rajayee,  Veena  Gayatri,  Ravi  Kiran  and  Mandolin  Srinivas.  Shashank  has 
joined  this  prestigious  club  now.  He  is  reputed  to  have  identified  ragas  and  their 
place  in  the  Melakarta  chart  at  the  incredible  age  of  three!  This  is  so  much  like 
Ravi  Kiran,  the  reigning  chitra  veena  player.  His  vocal  training  was  helped  by 
scholarships.  His  instrinsic  merit  was  taken  note  of  when  he  was  provided  with 
a  berth  by  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  at  an  important  slot  during  its  annual 
festival.  The  progress  of  Shashank  is  to  be  watched.  He  plays  with  confidence 
and  the  melody  of  his  flute  is  sweet. 

Concert  tours  :          Australia,  Singapore  and  Malaysia  1990 

Disc  recordings  :          ICD  and  one  cassette. 

'  With  punches  of  alluring  tone  and  subtlety,  he  distils  perfectly  classical  forms  out  of  the 
notes  of  ragas,  He  is  maturing  incredibly  fast',  writes  K.S.  Mahadevan  (I.E.) 

1  His  concert  had  such  a  timeless  serenity,  enchantment  and  rich  content  as  to  make  him 
a  dazzling  but  not  an  extravagant  genius',  writes  another. 



Place  of  birth  :          Madras 

Parents  :         Sangeetha  Vidwan  V.  Rama  Ayyar,  a  disciple  of 

Melakaveri  A.  Ramamurty  Ayyar  &  Mukthambal. 

Musical  training          :         Under  her  father,  besides 

Pallavi  singing  and  kritis  from  A.R.  Kannan  and 
Kritis  from  S.  Balasubramaniam. 

Qualification  & 

Occupation  :         S.S.L.C.  Employed  in  the  All  India  Radio  as  staff  artiste. 

Debut  :         At  Chenna  Malleswarar  Temple,  Madras  on 

•      August  15,  1957. 

Shyamala  Venkateswaran  has  been  giving  concerts  at  the  Music  Academy, 

sabhas  and  other  institutions  in  India.   Her  concerts  are  well  received. 


Concert  tours  :         Mauritius  1986 

Cassette  recordings    :          with  Sulochana  Pattabiraman.  One  individually. 

She  has  won  prizes  for  proficiency  from  the  Tamil  Isai  Sangam,  Indian  Fine 
Arts  Society  and  Sadguru  Samajam,  Purasawakkam.  She  is  'A'  grade  artiste 
with  All  India  Radio. 


Simha  Bhupala  was  a  ruler  of  the  Rayacharla  (  Racherla )  Dynasty  with  his 
capital  at  Raja$ala  or  Racherla. 

Ancestors  :         Daacaya  Nayaka  -  Pocamamba 

Parents  :          Anapola  or  Ananta  -  Annamamba 

He  has  authored  l  Kuvalayavali\  a  drama  in  Sanskrit  and 
'Rasarnavasudhakara*  composed  in  1375  A.D.  The  latter  work  has  seven 
chapters  explaining  sruti,  swara,  tana  murchanas,  compositions,  talas, 
instruments  and  nartana.  An  excellent  treatise  in  Sanskrit  on  dramaturgy,  he 
follows  Bharata's  Natya  sastra.  T.  Venkatacharya  says  that  there  was  a 
suggestion  that  the  work  had  been  actually  written  by  Visweswara,  author  of 
'Camatkara  Chandrika'  and  fathered  on  his  patron,  Simha  Bhupala  but  that  it  is 
not  correct.  V.  V.  Narasimhacharya  says  that  the  author  had  noticed  the  changes 
that  have  set  in  music  since  the  days  of  Sarngadeva.  Catura  Kallinadha's 
commentary  on  Sangita  Ratnakara  titled  'Kalanidhi'  came  half  a  century  later. 

Bhupala  called  himself  'Sahitya  Kala  Abhijna'  and  was  called  'Sarvajna'. 


GHANAM  SINNAYYA  -  COMPOSER:  (18th  Century) 

Sinnayya  was  son  of  Venkataraghava  Advani  and  Tiruvangalamma, 

born  at  Chettipatnam  in  North  Arcot  district, 

brother  of  Sesha  Yejwa, 

disciple  of  Varada  Desika, 

a  scholar  in  Sanskrit  and  telugu, 

an  eminent  musician  and 

a  profound  composer, 

He  was  minister  to  Vijayaranga  Chockanatha  Naik,  Madurai  (1 701  - 1732).  It  is 
significant  to  note  that  he  was  the  earliest  ghana  vidwan  to  be  followed  by  Bobbili 
Kesavayya,  Krishna  Ayyar,  Paidala  Gurumurti  Sastri  and  Gururayacharyulu. 
Sinnayya  has  authored  'Sasana  Vijayam'  full  of  sringara  rasa.  'Ramanuja 
Charitram'  is  a  prabhandam  of  his  and  the  popular  song  Siva  diksha  paru 
ralanura'  (Kurinji)  is  his  immortal  piece  in  wide  currency. 

Titles  &  Honours         :          Bhooloka  Narada 

Sarasa  Vidya  Visarada 
Kavi  Gramani  and 
Gayaka  Ratna. 

His  signature  was  'Mannaruranga'.  (There  was  another  of  the  same  name, 
called  Tsoukam  Sinnayya,  a  tamil  vidwan  of  the  period  of  Sarabhoji  II  and 
Shivaji  II.) 

*     *     * 


(19th  Century  I  half) 

Nativity  :          Kottaiyur  in  Tanjore  district 

Father  :          Dandapani  Desikhar. 

Sivakozhundu  Desikhar  was  Asthana  Vidwan  in  the  Court  of  the  celebrated 
Sarabhoji  Raja  II  (1798  -  1832).  He  composed  the  'Sarabhendra  Bhupala 
Kuravanji'  comprising  39  kirtanas  besides  others.  His  Kottaiyur  Ula  is  not 
traceable.  Ponniah  Pillai  of  the  celebrated  Tanjore  Quartette  set  to  music 
Desikhar's  Kuravanji  and  it  was  enacted  first  at  the  temple  of  Sri  Brihadeeswara, 
Tanjore  by  the  Tanjore  Quartette. 

*         *         if 


COMPOSER:   (1869  -  April  10,  1951) 

Parents  :         Mahadeva  Rao  and  Parvati. 

Learnt  music  under  his  father  and  tamil  from  Shanmugham  Pillai  and 
Ayyaswami  Ayyar.  A  mahratta  by  birth,  he  learnt  telugu  and  tamil  and  evinced 


ceen  interest  in  musical  discourses.  Composed  songs  and  nirupanams  for 
musical  discourses  and  they  have  been  adopted  by  many  artistes.  For  the 
>enefit  of  Tanjore  Abraham  Pandithar  of  'Kamamrutha  Sagara  Thirattu',  he 
composed  nirupanams  with  stories  from  the  Bible  and  for  the  Tiruvaduthurai 
^utt,  he  composed  nirupanams  on  Kumaragurupara  Swamigal.  Though  the 
amous  Lavani  Venkata  Rao  trained  him  in  lavani,  Bhagavatar's  heart  was  set 
>n  musical  discourse  only. 

A  teacher  in  music  and  mahrathi  at  the  Mahratta  School,  Tanjore,  he  was  a 
rue  patriot  and  composed  national  songs  in  Sanskrit,  english,  telugu,  tamil,  and 
cannada.  The  manuscripts  are  reportedly  with  B.M.  Sundaram.  Banni  Bai  and 
Danduranga  Rao  were  his  disciples.  He  was  honoured  in  1916  at  a  special 
invention  called  for  the  purpose. 


(20th  Century  1  half) 

Son  of  Subbarama  Bhagavatar,  a  disciple  of  Tyagaraja,  Sivaramakrishna 
ar  has  the  distinction  of  adding  "many  of  the  chitta  swaras  to  Tyagaraja's 
jrtans".  He  is  described  as  non  pare/7  in  swara  gnana.  He  specialised  in 
.uthentic  rendition  of  the  kirtans  ensuring  syllabic  purity.  Blind  artiste  Tiruvadi 
:rishna  Ayyar  was  among  his  disciples.  Soolamangalam  Vaidyanatha 
Shagavatar  pays  glowing  tributes  to  the  expertise  of  Sivaramakrishna  Ayyar. 

»  SIVAVADIVELU  PILLAI  -HYMNODJST  MRIDANGIST:         (b.Jufy  2,  1916) 

Place  of  birth  :  Pulivalam  near  Tlruvarur. 

Parents  P.  Pavadai  Filial  &  Sundarambal. 

Training  in  mridangam          Ramadas  Rao,  Lecturer  in  Mridangam,  Annamalai 


In  Pann  Isai  Tiruppamburam  Sivasubramania  Pillai, 

Mailam  Vajravel  Mudaliar  & 
M.M.  Dandapani  Desikhar. 

Musical  service  ;          Secretary,  Muthu  Thandavar  Vizha,  Chidambaram. 

Suddha  Sanfnarga  Sangham,  Mayiladuthurai. 

Sivavadivelu  Pillai  was  a  freedom  fighter  and  a  'Sangeetha  Bhushanam'  of 
nnamalai  University.  He  has  been  honoured  with  the  title  of  'Mridanga  Nadha 
ani'  by  Kovai  Isai  Mandram.  He  has  been  doing  service  in  temples  as  a 
^mnodist  and  is  well  spoken  of. 



(1116-1138  A.D) 

Someswara  was  the  son  of  Vikramaditya  of  the  Western  Chalukya  Dynasty 
with  capital  at  Kalyani.  An  authority  on  music,  he  wrote  the  thesaurus 
'Manasollasa'  or  Abhilashitartha  Chintamani  in  1130  A.D.  for  enlightening  and 
teaching  the  world.  He  refers  to  music  conferences. 

'  The  efforts  of  Someswara  paved  the  way  for 
Sarngadeva,  etc.,  to  compose  such  encyclopaedic  works.  ' 

—  Gowri  Kuppuswami  &  M.Hariharan. 

Manasollasa  contains  8022  verses  including  chapters  on  Gitam  (537  slokas) 
Vadyam  (411  slokas),  Nrityam  (457  slokas)  and  musical  discourse  (27  slokas). 
The  encyclopaedic  work  is  a  book  of  reference.  The  term  'Carnatic  music'  is 
traced  to  this  work  for  its  origin. 

S.  SOWMYA  -  VOCALIST:  (b.  1 968) 

She  is  studying  at  the  I  IT,  Madras  on  a  scholarship  and  she  had  held  a 
cultural  talent  scholarship  for  eight  years.  Scholarships  and  prizes,  she  has  been 
awarded  most  of  them.  Has  a  sweet  voice,  imaginative  musical  rendition.  Her 
concerts  '  reveal  finished  quality  in  preparation  and  performance  skill  in  handling 
gamakas  ',  It  is  Sowmya,  an  upcoming  artiste  popular  with  the  audience.  She  is 
a  disciple  of  the  late  Dr.  S.  Ramanathan.  She  had  given  voice  support  to  him 
and  to  T.  Muktha. 


Born  at  :         Nanjangud  in  Karnataka. 

of  :         Venkatanarayana  Ayyarand  Ranganayaki  Ammal. 

Musical  training  under :         Maternal  grandfather  Veena  Seshanna 
Posts  held  :         Lecturer  in  Veena,  Bangalore  University. 

Artiste,  Akashvani. 

Born  in  a  musical  family,  he  had  the  benefit  of  his  elder  brother  Narayana 
Ayyar  being  a  vainika.  Srikanta  Ayyar  is  a  talented  artiste;  his  meetu  is  soft  and 
soothing  and  swara  exposition  elegant.  Had  played  together  with 
R.K.  Venkatarama  Sastri  as  duo. 


K.  SRINIVASA  AYYANGAR  -  VEENA  ARTISTE:  (1919  - 1979) 

An  offspring  of  a  musical  family,  Srinivasa  Ayyangar  initially  took  to  flute 
under  H.V.  Venkataramayya  but  discontinued.  After  his  Intermediate 
Examination,  he  passed  Law  at  Bombay  and  became  a  Vakil  in  1940.  His 
musical  inclinations  were  intact  and  kept  in  cold  storage.  They  melted  when 
hiis  talented  wife  came  forth  to  teach  and  train  her  spouse  in  veena.  This  led  the 
couple  to  give  joint  concerts  in  veena  like  Sivanandham  (a  descendant  of  the 
Fanjore  Quartette)  and  his  wife. 

Srinivasa  Ayyangar  was  a  critic  and  author  of  articles  in  the  magazines 
Gayana  Ganga  and  Thai  Nadu  (kannada)  under  the  pen-name  'Raja  Sri' 
combining  the  first  syllables  of  the  names  of  his  wife  Rajalakshmi  and  his  own. 
He  served  the  Bangalore  Gayana  Samaj  for  twenty-two  years,  founded  the 
<alyani  Gana  Nilayam  and  organised  festivals  to  celebrate  Tyagaraja  and 
:>urandara  jayantis.  Was  Member,  State  Sangit  Nataka  Academy  too.  Has 
written  the  biographies  of  musicians  and  translated  the  Akademy  publication  on 
Muthuswamy  Dikshitar.  Had  given  numerous  concerts. 


Veenavadana  Vimarsana, 

Vainika  Praveena, 

Sangita  Vimarsana  Praveena. 

*      *      *      *      * 

The  two  books,  A  Garland  and  Another  Garland  together  cover  over  — 

a  thousand  artistes, 
ten  thousand  accompanists,  sub-artistes,  patrons,  etc. 

a  latkh  of  dependents  and 
a  million  music  -  lovers  and  admirers. 

*     *     * 

'Deva  appears  to  have  been  a  practical  musician  as  well  as  a  great  scholar  and  an 
legant  poet;  for  the  whole  book  (Sangita  Ratnakard)  consists  of  masterly  couplets  in 
ie  melodious  metre  called  Arya...  This  book  alone  would  enable  me  to  compose  a 
realise  on  the  Music  of  India. 

—  Sir  William  Jones,  Founder-President,  Asiatic  Socitety,  Calcutta. 



A  genuine  flower  with  distilled  fragrance  and  a  gem  of  purest  ray  serene  born 
to  blush  unseen  is  Veena  maestro  Mysore  Janardhana  Ayyangar  Srinivasa 
Ayyangar  popularly  known  as  MJS,  writes  G.T.  Narayana  Rao  of  Ganabharathi, 
Mysore,  Father  Janardhana  Ayyangar  (1 885  - 1 962)  was  a  vainika  and  a  disciple, 
of  Chikka  Subbaraya.  He  was  not  able  to  pursue  the  professional  line  since  his 
landed  interests  would  not  release  him  from  their  clutches.  Srinivasa  Ayyangar 
was  initiated  to  vocal  but  as  his  voice  cracked  at  the  age  of  eight,  he  took  to 
veena  and  in  1939  came  under  the  care  of  Veena  Venkatagiriappa  at  Mysore. 
Srinivasa  Ayyangar  states  that  his  guru  '  was  an  institution,  a  great  vainika,  a 
generous  host  and  a  professional  guru  in  the  palace  '.  (Vide  'A  Garland' "for  an 
account  of  Venkatagiriappa.) 

Srinivasa  Ayyangar  alludes  to  the  manner  of  training  he  had  thus  : 

'  There  was  no  question  of  our  guru  instructing  anyone  of  us  individually,  By  constantly 
attending  to  him,  watching  him  playing  veena,  imbibing  the  technique  and  spirit  and  later 
feverishly  practising  them  at  home  until  I  was  anywhere  near  the  periphery  of  the 
master's  vast  empire...  ' 

Renowned  artistes  like  Prof.  R.N.  Doreswamy,  V.  Doreswamy  and 
V.  Desikachar  were  some  of  the  trainees  with  him.  MJS  was  influenced  by  the 
styles  of  vocal  maestros  Ariyakudi,  GNB  and  Alathur  in  shaping  his  style  to  be 
as  close  as  possible  to  vocal  rendition  clearly  delineating  the  course  of  the 
sahitya,  Among  his  disciples  figure  A.S.  Padma,  M.K.  Saraswati  and 
M.K.  Jayasri  Prasad. 


A  Graduate  in  Arts  of  the  Madras  University,  Srinivasachariar  was  a  teacher 
in  the  National  Brahma  Gnana  College,  Adyar  and  was  devoted  to  the 
propagation  of  Classical  music.  He  published  the  book  'Sangita  Sarvartha 
Chintamanf  containing  fifteen  varnas  and  kirtanas  of  eminent  composers, 

*     *     * 

Nerur  is  the  place  sanctified  by  the  immortality  of  Sadasiva  Brahmendral; 
and  Srinivasachariar  hailed  from  that  village.  A  disciple  of  Namakkal  Narasimha 
Ayyangar,  he  was  a  vocalist-cum-violinist.  He  has  composed  in  tamil  (and  some 
in  Sanskrit  and  telugu)  gitams,  swarajatis,  varnams,  kritis,  padams,  tillanas  and 
javalis.  Perhaps  he  was  the  first  to  compose  in  tamil  Pancharatnas,  Navaratri 
Kirtanas,  Navagraha  Kirtanas  and  songs  on  '  Nature  '.  His  songs  have  been 
praised  by  distinguished  men, 


Some  of  his  compositions  were  published  in  1 943  under  the  title  '  Sri  Ranga 
Gana  Sudhadayam'  with  an  introduction  by  the  eminent  musicologist 
T.V.  Subba  Rao.  Srinivasachariar  has  also  set  to  tune  slokas  of  the  revered 
Sri  Vedanta  Desikha  in  'Sankalpa  Suryodayam',  etc.  Keertanacharya 
C.R.  Srinivasa  lyengar  wrote  on  27th  December,  1931,  'in  point  of  range  and 
depih,  he  occupies  the  very  first  place...  Verily  a  large  bid  for  recognition  and 
appreciation'.  He  taught  music  at  the  Lady  Wellingdon  Training  College, 
Madras.  Mysore  Palace  vidwans  Sharma  Brothers  were  among  his  disciples. 

TEREZHANDUR  T.V.  SRINIVASACHARl  -  VOCALIST:   (b.  January  14,1914) 

Parentage  :          Venkatachariar  &  Shenbagavalii. 

Education  &  Training  :          Trichy  National  College  High  School  -  General  studies 
in  Music  Got  Sangeetha  Bhushanam  diploma  from  the 

Annamalai  University  in  1933,  with  Sabhesa  Ayyar  and 
Ponniah  Filial  being  his  distinguished  professors. 

Posts  held 

Music  Teacher,  Sri  Ramakrishna  High  School,  T.  Nagar.  (1 938-1 942) 

Headmaster,  Tamilisai  School,  Devakottai  (1 942-1 947) 

Teacher  in  Music,  Oriental  Sanskrit  School,  West  Mambalam,  Madras. 

Titles  &  Honours  : 

Tamil  Veda  Gana  Sikhamani  with  Gold  Medal  by  V.V.  Srinivasa  Ayyangar 

at  Devakottai 

Honoured  by  Rajah  Sir  Annamalai  Chettiar 
Sangita  Ratnakara  by  Mysore  Parakala  Mutt  Jeer 
Isaikadal  by  Karaikudi  Tamilisai  Sangham  in  1990. 
Honoured  by  the  Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar  Trust  in  1991 . 

A  born  teacher  with  a  rich  repertoire  of  songs  in  tamil,  Srinivasachari  has  set 
tunes  to  Kamba  Ramayana  verses,  etc.  and  has  given  a  concert  of  those  songs 
alone  before  a  distinguished  gathering  comprising  Rajendra  Prasad,  Rajaji, 
Kalki  and  T.K.Chidambaranatha  Mudaliar.  He  is  the  guiding  spirit  behind  the 
activities  of  Sri  Sat  Guru  Samajam,  Purasawakkam,  Sai  Samaj,  Mylapore, 
Terezhandur  Veda  Sabha  and  Sri  Ramanjaneya  Temple  Committee,  Tambararn 
Sanatorium,  The  great  occasion  in  his  life  was  the  opportunity  to  give  a  concert 
with  Pudukottai  Narayanaswami  on  violin,  Karaikudi  Muthu  Ayyar  on  mridangam 
and  Devakottai  Sundararaja  Ayyangar  on  kanjira  for  the  Sashtiabthapoorti  of  the 
great  maestro,  Mazhavarayanendal  Subbarama  Bhagavatar. 



Place  of  birth  :          Gowribidanur  in  Kolar  district. 

Father  :          Srinivasachariar 

Tirumalai  revealed  musical  instincts  in  abundance  even  as  a  boy  and  learnt 
much  by  hearing  gramaphone  records.  Joined  the  Sanskrit  College,  Bangalore. 
Had  his  musical  lessons  at  the  LN.  Narayanaswamy  Gurukula  for  twelve  years. 

When  he  started  on  his  professional  concerts,  he  was  taken  as  the  Asthana 
Vidwan  by  the  Gadwal  Court  in  1946.  Later  he  joined  in  1953  Chowdiah's 
Ayyanar  College,  Bangalore.  He  was  also  with  the  institution  Vijaya  Sangeetha 
of  Narayanaswamy  Bhagavatar 

R.K.  SRINIVASAMURTY  -  VAINIKA:  (20th  Cent) 

Started  with  vocal  music  but  switched  over  to  veena,  the  special  favourite  of 
many  Karnataka  musicians.  Srinivasamurty  had  his  training  under  his  father  R.K. 
Keshavamurty  and  brother  R.K.  Suryanarayanan. 

Title:  Bharata  Vainika  Ratna  by  Parthasarathy  Gana  Sabha. 

Prof.  R.  SRINIVASAN  -  MUSICOLOGIST:        (Septr.  21, 1887  -  May  2, 1975) 

Born  at  musical  Lalgudi  amidst  its  melody-soaked  fields,  groves  and 
gardens,  Prof.  R.  Srinivasan  had  a  distinguished  academic  career: 

-  MA  having  taken  the  first  rank  in  the  University  both  in  B.A.  and  in  MA  ; 

-  had  worked  as  Assistant  Professor  for  a  short  period  even  while  studying;  and 

-  was  Professor,  Head  of  Department  of  Mathematics  during  1 925- 1 937  and 

-  Principal,  Science  College,  Tnvandrum  during  "1937-38  and  1941-42. 

Son  of  Ramanujam  who  was  attached  to  the  famous  Srirangam  shrine  and 
Valambal,  Srinivasan  was  not  a  mere  Professor  in  Mathematics  but  was  a 
multi-faceted  man  of  learning  and  culture,  actor,  playwright,  story-teller,  poet  and 
musician.  While  his  teaching  career  spanned  1910-1942,  music  was  his 
permanent  and  favourite  field  of  expertise  and  endeavours.  He  gave  harikathas, 
organised  festivals  and  conferences  and  took  a  prominent  part  in  founding  the 
Swati  Tirunal  Academy  and  Sabha  at  Trivandrum. 

He  had  contributed  many  articles  on  music,  had  composed  the  plays 
1  Meerabai  '  and  '  Susheela  '  and  authored  the  work  '  Facets  of  Indian  Culture  '. 

Srinivasan's  varied  interests  are  reflected  in  the  posts  he  had  held  — 


First  Scout  Commissioner,  Travancore  State 
Honorary  Director,  Travancore  Radio  Station 

Chairman  /  Member  of  Committees  of  South  Indian  Universities  on  Mathematics  and 

Fine  Arts. 

Member,  Central  Advisory  Committee  for  Music 
Adviser  to  the  Government  of  Ceylon  on  programmes  for  Radio  Ceylon 
Member,  Experts  Committee  of  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  /Trivandrum  and 
was  connected  with  Kalakshetra,  Madras. 

A  theosophist,    he  was  the  fulcrum  and  focus  of  musical  activities  at 

Trivandrum.    His   primary   interest  centred   round   the  three    'M's   -   Music, 

Mathematics  and  Mysticism.  Plato  insisted  on  a  knowledge  of  mathematics  and 

music  for  admission  to  his  school;  Prof.  Srinivasan  is  an  instance  of  Plato's  type 

;  of  scholar. 


Parents:  D.  Rangachariar  and  Kaiaimamani  Tanjore  Andalammal, 

a  bharata  natyam  artiste. 

T.R.  Srinivasan  had  his  training  under  Kuttalam  S.  Sivavadivel  Pillai  from  the 
age  of  twelve  under  gurukulavasa.  In  1945,  he  made  his  debut  at  Tanjore  as 
accompanist  to  his  sisters  Lakshmi  and  Gowri.  Had  further  advanced  training 
under  Palani  Subrarnania  Pillai.  He  has  provided  accompaniment  to  senior 
vidwans  like  Chittoor  Subramania  Pillai,  T.-R.  Mahalingam,  Madurai  Mani  Ayyar 
and  Madurai  Sonrtu.  Has  provided  percussion  accompaniment  to  prominent 
danseuses.  Was  appointed  as  Lecturer  in  the  Government  Music  College  in 
1 972.  He  had  demonstrated  special  features  in  percussion.  Was  honoured  with 
the  title  of  '  Kaiaimamani  '  by  the  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram 
(1984).  Has  trained  quite  a  large  number  of  disciples. 


A.  Srinivasaraghavan  is  a  Bachelor  of  Commerce  who  had  his  initial  training 
in  music  with  Kumbakonam  Souri  Ayyangar,  a  disciple  of  Maha  Vaidyanatha 
Ayyar.  When  he  joined  the  Annamalai  University,  he  had  music  with  mathematics 
(Plato  formula  )and  physics  for  Part  III.  He  became  an  ardent  disciple  of 
G.N.  Balasubramaniam  later  and  was  with  him  till  G.N.B.  left  for  Trivandrum  to 
join  Sri  Swati  Tirunal  Academy  of  Music.  Srinivasaraghavan  has  been  giving 
concerts  at  important  sabhas  in  India.  His  first  concert  at  the  Music  Academy 
was  in  1961  and  in  that  year  got  the  TV.  Subba  Rao  Memorial  Prize  for  junior 
vocalists.  He  mentions  that  he  had  given  a  concert  before  the  former  President, 
Dr.  S.  Radhakrishnan  at  the  Rashtrapathi  Bhavan.  He  enjoys  a  free  style. 


SRIPADARAYA  -  COMPOSER:  (13th  Century) 

One  of  the  senior  Haridasas  of  Karnataka  and  perhaps  the  foremost  among 
them,  Sripadaraya  had  left  compositions  which  are  in  chaste  and  lucid  language 
for  easy  assimilation  by  the  lay  public.  It  is  stated  that  only  some  of  his  padas 
have  been  retrieved.  '  Raghupati '  is  his  signature.  Narahari  Tirtha  who  started 
the  Dasakoota  line  of  devotees  was  his  disciple.  Sripadaraya  is  one  of  the  senior 
Haridasas  of  Karnataka,  and  perhaps  the  foremost  among  them. 

Sripadaraya's  period  is  also  mentioned  around  1500  A.D. 

*     *     * 


Perhaps  the  'Parasuram  Quintet'  is  unique  in  presenting  a  family  ensemble 
comprising  — 

Parvati  Parasuram,  the  mother  and  vocalist  and  her  children 
Sriram  on  violin, 

Vishwanath  on  mridangam, 

Narayan  on  ghatam  and 

Meenakshi  as  vocal. 

A  Bachelor  of  Engineering  (Mechanical)  and  an  M.B.A.,  Sriram  is  also  a 
Master  of  Music- Violin  Performance  of  the  School  of  Music,  University  of  Akron, 
Ohio.  He  is  now  pursuing  Ethnomusicology  at  the  Wesleyan  University.  The  finer 
and  noteworthy  aspect  of  his  career  is  that  Sriram  with  his  professional 
qualifications  has  taken  to  music  as  a  profession  contrary  to  the  prevailing 
practice,  where  music  is  ancillary  or  incidental  to  one's  profession.  While  doing 
a  statutory  stint  at  Citibank  for  his  MBA,  he  took  the  conscious  decision  - 

1  It  just  was  not  what  I  wanted  to  spend  my  time  on.  In  any  case  I  would  have  to  quit  a 
bank  job  within  the  first  few  years,  To  study  music  at  the  academic  level  was  my  own 
conscious  and  personal  decision.  I  wanted  a  new  dimension  to  my  art . ' 

Training : 

Violin  under  Ramakrishna  Sarma 

Vocal  and  Violin  under  K.S.  Narayanaswamy  and  V,  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar. 

Hindustani  music  under  Pandit  C.R.  Vyas. 

Having  made  his  debut  at  the  age  of  eight,  Sriram  has  so  far  given  over  eight 
hundred  solo  recitals  in  In'dia  and  abroad  worthy  of  a  Bradman  and  Dennis 
Compton  in  cricket  He  has  been  providing  accompaniment  to  distinguished 
musicians  also.  He  enjoys  the  distinction  of  'A'  grade  both  in  Carnatic  and 
Hindustani  systems  with  All  India  Radio.  His  recitals  have  been  extensively 
covered  by  the  media  and  commended  for  soothing  tuneful  music  and  for  the 
rhwthm  and  h«autv  of  his  olav.  His  vocal  training  has  given  him  the 


The  academic  exposure  at  Akron  is  claimed  to  have  taught  him  a  new  way 
of  movement  in  handling  the  violin  and  analytical  finesse.  Dr,  Sulochana 
Rajendran,  Editor,  '  Shanmukha  '  writes: 

I  His  play  was  reposeful  Carnatic  music,  a  composite  melodic  essay,  each  of  the  phases 
like  aiapana,  kriti  and  kalpanaswaras  filling  in  its  lot  with  a  subtlety,  a  freshness  OT 
approach  and  of  articulation. ' 

Awards  : 

President  of  India  Gold  Medal.  1 981 

1  Young  Musician  '  title  from  Music  Academy,  Madras.        1 983 
1  Surrnani  '  by  Sur-Singar  Samsad,  Bombay. 
Ustad  Amir  Khan  Memorial  Award  by  Kala  Sangam,  Calcutta. 

Album  recordings: 

*     *     * 


(1904  -) 

One  of  the  erstwhile  senior  vidwans  in  the  traditional  style,  Srirangam 
Ayyangar  was  an  accomplished  master  in  rare  ragas  and  pallavi,  The  former 
Chief  Justice  of  Madras,  M.  Anantanarayanan  wrote: 

II  His  mastery  of  sruti,  laya  and  swara  had  a  depth,  an  assurance  and  a  rich  and  vibrant 
voice  which  were  compelling...  It  was  impossible  not  to  be  deeply  impressed;  ™usic£* 
imagination  of  that  quality  is  rare...  A  mere  grammar  of  music  does  not  sutnce TO 
distinguish  Durbar  and  Nayaki.  To  my  delight,  the  vidwan  sang  the  little  known  Di/roar 
kriti  'Endundi  Vedalithivo '  with  swara  prastara  and  immediately  sang  pallavi  in  NayaKi. 
The  contours  were  utterly  different. ' 

Note  :  The  confusion  or  the  subtle  distinction  between  Durbar  and  Nayaki  has  been 
availed  of  by  Tyagarajah  in  the  song  Endundi  Vedalithivo  as  he  avers,  '  I  am  at  a  loss 
to  guess  even  your  nativity  and  whence  you  have  come  '.  Just  as  the  listener  wants  10 
know  whether  it  is  Durbaror  A/ayafr/the  musician  is  handling,  Tyagaraja  too  asks,  Pray, 
let  me  know  it  at  least  now1.  The  aptness  of  the  raga  for  a  song  which  raises  many 
doubts  is  to  be  noted." 

Born  in  1904  at  Madurai  as  the  third  son  of  Rangaswami  Ayyangar  and 
Lakshmi  Ammal,  Srirangam  Ayyangar  underwent  regular  gurukulavasa  under 
the  renowned  musician  Namakkal  Pallavi  Narasimha  Ayyangar.  Made  his  debut 
at  the  age  of  fourteen  at  the  Srirangam  temple.  Had  a  three-decade  long 
successful  career  giving  concerts  with  his  brother  Srinivasa  Ayyangar  as 
'Madurai  Brothers'.  The  Shatkala  Pallavi  he  rendered  at  Kalakshetra  with  Mani 
Ayyar  is  recorded  as  a  '  remarkable  feat  '.(NRB).  On  the  demise  of  his  brother 
he  gave  up  concerts  and  was  giving  tuitions  only.  R.  Vedavalli,  who  had  her 
training  under  him  at  Mannargudi,  pays  a  rich  tribute  to  him  and  says,  —  He 
would  come  in  a  self-driven  single  bullock-cart...  he  took  me  as  a  disciple. 
Certainly  he  did  it  not  for  money.  He  was  a  great  man...  When  I  think  of  him  I 
experience  spiritual  exhilaration.  He  would  not  like  lessons  to  be  reduced  to 
writing.  All  was  oral.' 


Honours  and  titles: 

Tamil  Nadu  Sangita  Nataka  Sangham  Award 

Central  Sangit  Natak  Akademy  Award ,  1 966. 

Sangita  Kalanidhi  by  Music  Academy,  Madras  in  1 969. 

K.  SRIVATSA  -  MRIDANGIST:  (b.August  18,  1948) 


Training  in 

General  qualification 

Post  held 
Disc  recordings 

R.  Krishnan  &  Saraswati 

Under  Palani  Subramania  Pillai  and  PA  Venkataraman 



Accompanied  Sangita  Kalanidhi  Alathur  Srinivasa  Ayyar 
on  22  09  1966  at  Tiruchirapalli. 

A.I.R.  Staff  Artiste  since  1984. 
Accompanied  M.  Chandrasekharan  and 

B.  Rajam  Ayyar  on  kanjeera. 

Has  been  providing  competent  accompaniment  to  prominent  artistes. 

*    *     * 

Subbanna,  a  contemporary  of  Seshanna,  adorned  the  Mysore  Durbar  galaxy 
of  musicians.  'He  was  a  more  substantial  and  serious-minded  exponent  of  the 
veena.  But  he  was  an  introvert  lacking  in  push  and  enterprise,  though  he  enjoyed 
the  respect  and  esteem  of  the  better-informed',  wrote  R.  Rangaramanuja 

Mysore  Vasudevacharya  writes  that  Subbanna's  generosity  was 
extravagant,  (The  account  of  his  liberal  extravagance  and  inability  to  say  'No' 
leaves  one  to  thank  God  that  Subbanna  was  fortunately  born  a  male!)  He  was 
born  rich  and  lived  like  a  benevolent,  cultured  prince. 

'  AGandharva  elegant  in  taste  and  always  cheerful.  He  was  quite  frugal  in  eating  while 
luxurious  dishes  were  all  reserved  for  his  guests!  Smartly  dressed,  he  was  extremely 
fond  of  flowers  and  scents.  When  he  moved  out,  his  approach  would  be  announced  a 
furlong  ahead  by  the  fragrance  wafted  across  by  breeze  ! ' 

Gopalakrishna  Bharati  would  leave  his  remuneration  with  his  patrons  as 
deposits  and,  though  wretchedly  poor  himself,  used  to  issue  cheques  on 
palmyrah  leaves  to  those  in  need  to  take  such  deposits  from  the  patron-banks. 
Even  so,  when  Subbanna  was  in  his  last  days  in  distress,  he  would  give  a  note 
to  take  his  own  stipend  from  the  Durbar  Bakshi !  Surely  he  was  a  modern  Kama ! 
How  ?  Here  Vasudevacharya  confirms: 


'  Even  when  his  fortune  dwindled  away  and  life  became  hard,  Subbanna  continued 
to  be  generous.  One  of  his  dependents  had  been  promised  financial  assistance  for 
a  marriage  in  his  house.  Subbanna  had  none  left  with  him.  He  called  his  wife 
Namagiriyamma  to  hand  over  the  gold  belt  (oddiyanam)  she  was  wearing.  The 
gracious  wife  swiftly  complied  with  it.  ' 

If  Kama  parted  with  his  life-saving  breast  plate,  Subbanna  couple  parted  with 
the  gold  belt  that  was  left  with  them!  The  ambrosial  aspect  of  this  episode  lies 
in  that  the  honourable  couple  were  made  for  each  other  and  their  lives  exemplify 
the  concept  of  Ardhanarishwara  each  half  finding  rhythm  in  the  other.  And  when 
Vasudevacharya  dedicated  his  kirtana  Rarajeevalochana  Rama  (Mohanam)  to 
Subbanna  who  brought  him  up,  the  noble  Kannadiga  gave  vent  to  a  gospel  truth: 

1  Acharya!  It  is  my  misfortune  that  I  am  listening  to  this  kirtana  when  my  hands  are  empty. 
It  is  good  in  a  way,  I  should  say.  If  creative  art  is  to  blossom  forth  into  a  lovely  flower, 
may  be,  the  artist  should  go  hungry.  ' 

"  This  man  is  freed  from  servile  bands 
Of  hope  to  rise  or  fear  to  fall; 
Lord  of  himself,  though  not  of  lands; 
And  having  nothing,  yet  hath  all. "  -    Sir  Henry  Wotton. 

Chamaraja  Wodeyar,  the  ruler  of  Mysore  used  to  take  Mysore 
Vasudevacharya  and  Subbanna  to  his  camps.  Once  the  two  vidwans  were 
allotted  a  small,  inconvenient  tent  by  officials  and  their  protests  went  unheeded, 
Taking  it  as  a  challenge,  Vasudeva  gave  a  thick  coat  of  sandal  paste  on 
Subbanna's  forehead  and  covering  themselves  with  shawls  both  met  the  ruler 
pretending  to  be  ill.  To  the  royal  query,  Vasudeva  replied  that  damp  conditions 
in  the  tent  had  led  to  their  illness  and  'caused  concern  not  so  much  for 
themselves  but  for  their  musical  instruments  !'  Immediate  royal  concern  and 
solicitude  for  their  health  were  revealed  in  their  being  provided  with  fresh  tent, 
cots  and  other  comforts.  Once  in  the  Nilgiris,  Subbanna  fell  very  sick.  The 
Maharaja  himself  took  up  the  nursing  and  persuaded  Subbanna  to  take  porridge 
saying,  Subbu,  You  must  not  starve  like  this.  You  must  drink  this.  It  acts  like  a 
JSinn8-?0"  2  thetstarved  stomach...'  Subbanna  took  it,  but  suddenly  vomited 
spffling  it  on  the  ruler  himself.  Gently  wiping  it  off,  Chamaraja  said,  'Call  me  if 

iIIn          Hk/he  P°rridge''  Royal  concern  was  so  affectionately 
?      *6*^d  transcendental-     Chamaraja  reminds  us  the  ancient 
,  r  9JeSt  °n  the  r°yal  couch  *nd  entering  on  deep  slumber. 

Wnde  ed      urtH^  H*^"9  fV*01  S'eepin9  fans  him  lest  "is 
hindered.  Such  deeds  elevate  human  thoughts  and  actions  without  doubt! 

-  Surasena",  remarked  Prof. 
Bidaram     Krishnappa    acted     as 


Dushtabuddhi  and  fisherman.  Unique  and  sublime  indeed  was  the  cultural 
atmosphere  at  Mysore  then.  'Only  after  the  Maharaja  was  fully  satisfied  during 
rehearsal,  a  drama  was  allowed  to  be  enacted  before  the  public.' 

(Source:  K.  Vasudevacharya.) 

MOOGURU  SUBBANNA  -  VOCALIST:  (19th  century) 

Mooguru  is  the  village  in  T.  Narasapur  taluk  where  Subbanna,  a 
contemporary  of  Mysore  Sadasiva  Rao  was  born.  His  voice  was  gruff  and  harsh 
initially  but  with  determination,  yogabhyasa  and  sadhaka,  his  voice  attained 
acceptability...  Clearly,  he  was  a  kannada  counterpart  of  Konerirajapuram 
Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  in  this  respect.  Veena  Shamanna  and  Andalanoor  Subbiah 
were  his  gurus  -  the  latter  being  credited  with  the  preparation  of  written  notation 
for  Kshetragna  padas.  Subbanna  was  giving  a  large  number  of  concerts, 
composed  swarajatis,  varnas  and  kirtanas.  Mysore  Vasudevacharya  writes  that 
Subbanna  had  done  a  lasting  service  to  music  and  that  even  renowned  Veena 
Seshanna  and  Subbarayaru  had  gone  to  Subbanna  for  learning  his 
compositions  and  for  discussions.  Subbarayaru  called  him,  a  Mahavidwan  and 
an  Ajatashatru.  Subbanna  made  it  a  point  to  go  to  the  famous  sahitya  vidwan, 
Garalapuri  Sastry  of  Sosale  for  getting  the  correct  significance  of  sahitya. 

Subbanna  sang  with  rasabhava  and  his  music  had  'a  divine  appeal'.  His 
unfailing  humility  and  deep  devotion  to  music  were  famous.  He  was  affectionate 
to  children  calling  them  Devaru  and  Siva,  He  always  kept  two  tamburas  tuned 
up  fifteen  minutes  in  advance  for  concerts  like  Bikshandarkoil  Subbarayar.  He 
was  particular  about  the  audience  maintaining  silence  at  concerts  like 
Gottuvadyam  Sakharama  Rao.  Poverty  did  not  wither  his  amiability  or  shake  his 
faith  in  Nadopasana  since  Tyagaraja  has  said  that  Sankara,  Narayana  and 
Brahma  had  attained  their  distinctive  glory  only  through  \i.(Nadopasanache  - 
Begada  raga.) 


A  musician  dedicated  to  Nadopasana,  Subbarama  Ayyar  found  his  musical 
expertise  and  talents  useful  to  pursue  his  spiritual  endeavours,  A  strange 
incident  confirmed  his  conviction  and  resolve  to  direct  his  music  to  devotion.  He 
used  to  take  his  ablutions  in  the  adjacent  river  Mudicondan  at  pre  -  dawn  daily, 
as  usual  with  all  villagers  till  a  decade  back  and  wash  his  clothes  by  thrashing 
them  on  the  granite  slab  kept  for  the  purpose,  again  as  is  usual  in  villages.  One 
day,  he  thought  that  he  got  a  command  with  the  word  'Thiruppu'  (turn),  as  he 
was  waking  up.  He  could  not  understand  it.  After  his  ablutions,  haunted  by  the 
word  'Thiruppu',  quite  by  a  flash  of  thought  and  impulse,  he  turned  the  granite 


he  and  others  had  used  for  years.  Lo  !  it  was  the  idol  of  Lord  Vinayaka  Himself; 
and  Ayyar  and  others  had  thrashed  on  His  back  so  long  and  stood  over  it  for 
years!  Overcome  by  remorse  over  the  sacrilege,  he  constructed  a  temple  for  it 
and  it  is  now  the  Therku  Veedhi  Pillayar  '  in  the  village.  Ayyar  had  been 
honoured  by  many  for  his  chaste  music.  And  Vinayaka  had  ignored  the  violent 
deeds  as  innocent  and  childish! 

He  composed  kirtans,  padams  and  varriams  and  his  sons  Subbarayar, 
Mangaleswaran  and  Ganapati  were  all  musicians.  The  last  was  guru  to 
Tiruvidaimarudur  Bhavani,  then  a  famous  lady  artiste.  Mangaleswaran's 
descendants  were  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar,  pioneering  author  of  'Book-Keeping  and 
Accounts'  text  book,  V.  Sundaram  Ayyar  of  Mylapore  and  Rajam  -  Balachander 


*      *      * 


Place  of  birth 

Preceptor  in  music 
Post  held 

Institution  founded 
Honour  conferred 

Patagonahalli,  Tumkur  district 


Puttappa,  violinist-uncle. 

Thirteenth  year 

Lecturer  at  Ram  Mandira,  Mysore.  (Institution  founded  by 

Bidaram  Krishnappa)  1940 

College  of  Carnatic  Music,  Bangalore  in  1 937 
Sangeet  Natak  Academy  (  Karnataka)  Award  1 963, 

An  erudite  scholar  noted  for  his  absorbing  and  enlightened  lectures. 

A.  SUBBA  RAO  -  VOCALIST:  (b.1923) 

Place  of  birth  :          Mysore. 

Parents  :         Anantarama  Rao  and  Saradamma. 

Musical  training  Bidaram  Krishnappa,  Lakshmidas  Rao, 

under  :          Chikka  Rama  Rao. 

Qualification  :          Intermediate  (Collegiate) 

Institutions  founded  or  associated  with: 

Gana  Kala  Bharati  -  founded  by  him. 
Gana  Kala  Parishat  -  General  Secretary. 
State  Sangit  Natak  Academy  -  President. 
Member,  Bangalore  University  Senate. 

Titles  &  Honours  : 

Gana  Sudhakara  By  the  Pontif  of  Sosula  Math 

Gana  Kala  Tilaka  in  1972 

Gana  Kala  Bhushana  in  1980 


The  Government  of  Karnataka  honoured  A.  Subba  Rao  in  1 981 .  His  style  of 
rendition  is  traditional  and  pleasing.  Is  endowed  with  a  melodious  voice.  He  has 
played  a  prominent  part  in  musical  endeavours  in  Karnataka. 

B.  SUBBA  RAO  -  MUSICOLOGIST:  (1894  -  1975) 

Place  of  birth  :          Basavapatnam,  Hassan  district 

B.  Subba  Rao  started  his  training  in  music  in  his  sixth  year  under  his  brother 
and  brother-in-law.  At  Nagpur,  where  he  entered  service  later  as  an  assistant  in 
the  Agricultural  Department,  he  not  only  enhanced  his  vidwat  in  Carnatic  music 
but  learnt  Hindustani  music.  Was  a  Member  of  the  Karnataka  State  Sangit  Natak 

Subba  Rao  was  giving  numerous  lectures  and  presenting  articles  on  music. 
'Raga  Nidhi',  a  valuable  contribution  of  his,  has  been  published  in  four  volumes 
by  the  Music  Academy,  Madras.  He  invented  the  instrument  'Chitravati'  which 
could  be  played  as  a  veena  or  as  a  gottuvadyam. 

Title:  Uthama  Gayana  Visaradha  by  the  Ruler  of  Mysore. 


Place  of  birth:  Ratnagiri  in  Tumkur  district. 

Father:  NageswaraSastri,  violinist. 

Subba  Sastri  had  his  lessons  under  his  father  and  attended  the  Sanskrit 
Patasala,  Mysore  in  1927.  In  1930  he  switched  over  to  the  use  of  the 
seven-stringed  violin  under  the  guidance  of  Vennai  Raja  Rao.  He  was  a 
teacher  from  1939  at  the  Mahila  Seva  Sanga  High  School,  Bangalore.  As  an 
accompanist,  he  brought  forth  his  rich  talents  and  satisfying  presentation. 


A  trend-setter,  Subburayaswami  belonged  to  Ambasamudram  on  the  bank 
of  River  Tambaraparni  (extolled  by  Muthuswami  Dikshitar  in  his  Sri 
Kanthimathim  in  raga  Desi  Simharava  as  'suddha  Tambraparni  tatasthitam'  - 
Sri  Kanthimathi  who  has  taken  up  her  abode  on  the  bank  of  Tambraparni  river 
with  its  crystal  clear  waters).  Was  a  head  constable.  He  has  composed  108 
couplets  called  kill  kanni  addressed  as  songs  of  love  from  a  lovelorn  damsel. 
The  songs  were  popular. 


SUBHANKARA  -  MUSICOLOGIST:  (15th  Century) 

Grandson  of  Narayana  and  son  of  Kavi  Chakravarti  Sridhara  and  Subhadra, 
Subhankara  had  four  sons  bynames  Devakinandana,  Rajasekhara,  Susenaand 
Damodara.  It  is  surmised  that  the  first  two  and  the  second  two  sons  might  have 
been  by  different  wives.  Subhankara  has  authored  'Sangita  Damodara1  besides 
another  called  MuktavalL  He  quotes  Sangita  Ratnakara  and  Sangita  Chudamani 
and  his  work  is  quoted  by  others  as  an  authority.  The  work  Sangita  Damodara 
contains  five  chapters  dealing  with  music,  dance,  and  drama.  The  work  has  been 
published  by  the  Sanskrit  College,  Calcutta  in  1960  with  Gourinatha  Sastri  and 
another  as  editors.  It  is  said  that  the  work  had  not  been  well  arranged  by  the 
author.  It  is  a  collection  from  ancient  works  cited  by  him.  'His  attempt  to  explain 
music  and  dramaturgy  as  originating  from  Krishna  is  novel  as  others  had 
attributed  them  only  to  Lord  Shiva.'  This  may  be  due  to  his  hailing  from  Bengal 
where  Vaishnava  influence  predominated.  Quite  a  lot  of  information  is  given  like: 

Bhavas  giving  rise     to  enduring  rasas  number  9 

to  fleeting  rasas  number  33  and 
to  ennobling  rasas  number  8 

Moods  of  lovers  1 2 
Sakhis  3 

Go-betweens  12 
Nayakas  4  etc. 


(June  26,  1906-) 

1934  at  Chidambaram,  the  scene  of  Cosmic  Dance.  The  deity  was  being 
taken  in  procession  along  the  streets.  The  nagaswara  vidwan  went  on  giving 
thrilling  rendition  from  10  p.m.  till  dawn.  S.'  Ramanathan  states: 

1  Started  with  mallari  in  Nattai.  Then  a  very  elaborate  alapana  of  Kiravani  followed  by 
thanam  and  pallavi  which  lasted  for  four  hours.  The  pallavi  included  a  ragamalika.  Then 
camekritis,.. ' 

It  was  Subramania  Pillai  who  was  noted  for  his  sweet  rendition  and  was  a 
popular  vidwan.  He  had  his  training  under  Tiruvenkadu  Samithurai  Pillai.  He  is 
credited  to  be  the  first  nagaswara  vidwan  to  be  conferred  with  a  doctorate  by 
the  Tamil  University  -  to  be  followed  by  Sheikh  Chinna  Moulana  and 
Namagiripettai  Krishnan.  His  period  saw  a  galaxy  of  nagaswara  stalwarts  hailing 
from  Tiruvaduthurai,  Tiruvizhimalalai,  Tiruvidaimarudur,  etc. 

Disc  recordings  : 

Concert  tour:         Sri  Lanka  and  Malaysia. 


A.  SUBRAMANIAM  -  VEENA  ARTISTE:  (b.  Deer.  4,  1913) 

Place  of  birth  :          Harikesanallur,  Tirunelveli  dt. 

Parents  :          Violinist  AppaAyyar  and  Valliammal. 

Musical  training  Father  Appa  Ayyar 

under  :          Prof.  Gomati  Sankara  Ayyar  of  Annamalai  University  & 

Harikesanallur  Gayakasikhamani 

L,  Muthiah  Bhagavatar. 

Subramaniam  has  provided  veena  for  background  orchestral  music  with 
his  brother  Gottuvadyam  A.  Narayana  Ayyar  for  the  films  'Chintamani',  etc.  Was 
veena  teacher  at  the  Delhi  Carnataka  Sangita  Sabha  and  Lecturer  in  Veena 
during  1964-1974  at  the  Benares  Hindu  University. 


a.  Geetha  Prabhanda  Malai 

b.  Apoorva  kirtanas  of  Patnam  Subramania  Ayyar        (1961)  and 

c.  72  Melakartas  of  Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  (1 964) 

He  had  indexed  two  thousand  kirtanas  of  many  composers  for  Tamil  Nadu 
Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram. 


11  Who  among  these  will  beat  the  drum  ? 
How,  if  he  beat  it,  will  he  beat  ? 

—  cxxxii  Atharva  Veda. 

Initially  started  training  under  his  father  Arumugham  Pillai  in  nagaswaram 
and  then  switched  over  to  tavil  under  his  brother  Palanivel.  Making  his  debut  at 
the  age  of  sixteen,  A.R.  Subramaniam  reached  the  top  by  1964  with  his 
exceptional  talents.  His  remarkable  fingering  techniques  and  patterns  and  his 
ability  to  bring  out  intricate  variations  and  subtle  nuances  in  rhythm  soon  made 
him  out  as  a  laya  maestro  among  the  tavil  vidwans  of  the  last  quarter  of  this 
century.  He  added  new  dimensions  to  tavil  play  by  providing  accompaniment  to 
the  solos  of  Kunnakudi  Vaidyanathan,  violinist  and  Mandolin  Srinivas.  Drawing 
inspiration  from  the  all-time  prodigy  Palghat  Mani  Ayyar,  Subramaniam  is  a 
creative  collaborator  in  interpreting  music  through  rhythm  in  tavil.  He  has  had 
3442  concerts  upto  1 990  -  which  is  by  any  standard  a  colossal  figure  -  a  veritable 
Kapil  Dev  in  percussion!  He  provides  rhythm  unruffled  and  his  style  of  rendition 
is  different  from  that  of  Needamangalam  Meenakshisundaram  and  others  of  his 
style.  Subramaniann's  forte  is  pleasing  sound  and  not  strength  and  vibrancy. 
He  is  like  the  Krishnans  in  tennis  and  not  the  dynamos  Courier  or  Ivanisevic. 


Titles  &  Honours: 

Kalaimamani  from  the  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram 

State  Artiste,  Tamil  Nadu  Government 

Sangita  Natak  Akademy  Award 

Isai  Perarignar  from  the  Tamil  Isai  Sangham,  Madras  1 990, 

being  the  first  tavildar  to  receive  the  honour. 

Concert  tours  :      Europe,  USA  in  1 985 
Disc  recordings: 

'  A.R.  Subramaniam  opines  that  double  nagaswaram  play  had  probably 
started  during  the  days  of  Tiruppamburam  Brothers  and  Tiruvizhimalalai 
Brothers  about  fifty  to  seventy  years  back  (it  should  be  older  still)with  the 
percussion  genius  Needamangalam  Meenakshisundaram  Pillai  and  Nachiarkoil 
Raghava  Pillai  presenting  their  exhilarating,  competitive  rendition.  Jackwood 
from  dry  areas  like  Pudukottai,  Panruti  and  Jaffna  provide  the  best  quality  wood 
for  tavil  according  to  Subramaniam.  He  arranged  for  an  experimental 
combination  of  bharata  natyam  with  nagaswaram  and  tavil  for  music  and  rhythm 
calling  it  'Nadamum  Natyamurn'and  presented  it  recently. 

M.S.  SUBRAMANIAM  -  PERCUSSIONIST:  (b January  19,  1935) 

Place  of  birth  :         Mayiladuthurai. 

Training  in  Tavil  under  grandfather  Tlllaiyadi  A.  Srinivasa  Pillai, 

Percussion  under       :         Kuttalam  Ramiah  Pillai,  Koorainadu  P.  Palanivel  Pillai. 

Mridangam  under       :          Kuttalam  Sivavadivel  Pillai  and 

Ramnad  Murugabhoopati  Pillai. 

Kanjeera  under  :          Pudukottai  Swaminatha  Pillai. 

Debut  :          At  the  age  of  nine. 

Has  provided  tavil  to  most  of  the  eminent  nagaswara  artistes.  Has 
accompanied  on  mridangam  and  kanjeera  Madurai  Somu  (Somasundaram 
Pillai),  T.M.  Theagarajan,  etc.  Has  been  teacher  in  mridangam  at  the 
Government  Music  College  (now  Training  Centre),  Madras. 

Concert  tour :  Europe  1964. 

*     *     * 

T.R.  SUBRAMANYAM  -  VOCALIST  &  PEDAGOGUE  :  (b.Sept.20, 1929) 

Here  is  an  account  of  T.R.  Subramanyam  by  B.V.K,  Sastry: 

'  He  is  a  musician  with  a  difference...  He  is  one  of  the  few  musicians  who  received 
training  in  colleges  and  proved  their  mettle  on  the  concert  stage...  He  evaluates  art 
from  different  angles...  While  he  is  popular  with  the  cognocenti  as  an  imaginative 
and  innovative  artiste,  purists  feel  that  he  is  unconventional  if  not  unorthodox...  In 


one  of  the  conferences  in  Bangalore  years  back,  an  idea  was  being  tossed  about  -  what 
would  be  the  audience  reaction  if  a  conceit  is  presented  in  the  reverse?  This  implied 
instead  of  starting  the  concert  with  the  customary  varnam,  salutation  to  Ganapati,  etc., 
to  start  from  the  concluding  Mangalam  working  way  back  to  varnam.  Finally  to  obviate 
a  sort  of  shock  to  the  purists,  T.R.S.  started  with  a  penultimate  item  -  javali.  ' 

Son  of  Rajagopala  Ayyar  and  Alamelu,  T.R.  Subramanyam  was  born  at 
Tiruvidaimarudur,  noted  for  its  great  temple  and  cultural  environments. 
Bodhendra-Ayyaval  meets  used  to  take  place  here.  Sakharama  Rao, 
gottuvadyam  maestro  and  RS.  Veeruswami  Pillai,  nagaswaram  perfectionist 
were  here.  Semmangudi  Dr.  Srinivasa  Ayyar,  Veena  Narayana  Ayyangar  and 
Gottuvadyam  Narayana  Ayyangar  had  their  training  here. The  soil  and  waters  of 
Tiruvidaimarudur  are  saturated  with  music.  Rajagopala  Ayyar  was  a  sincere 
promoter  of  Madurai  Mani  Ayyar  and  C.S.  Krishna  Ayyar.  As  concerts  then  were 
not  many,  '  I  had  to  listen  to  each  and  everyone  lest  my  father  should  beat  me  ! ' , 
says  T.R.S.  He  had  his  general  education  at  Mayuram,  Tirunelveli  and 
Vijayawada.and  is  an  M.A.(Lit). 

Musical  training  with  : 

Sivarama  Ayyar  of  Mayuram,  A.D.  Rajagopala  Ayyar  of  Tirunelveli, 
Gavai  Sitarama  Bhagavatar  and  D.S.  Mani  Bhagavatar  of  Perungulam. 

He  had  his  diploma  from  the  Central  College  of  Carnatic  Music,  Madras.  On 
his  training  with  the  masters  at  the  Central  College,  T.R.S.  has  many  interesting 
episodes  and  opinions  to  give.  Here  are  some; 

1  Many  of  the  teachers  and  students  did  not  then  have  general  education  and  he  was 
thus  very  much  in  demand  to  write  even  leave  letters.. Pallavi  rendition  in  those  days 
was  taken  as  one  that  landed  the  artiste  on  the  moon.  In  those  days,  the  Government 
went  to  the  artistes,. .Swaminatha  Pillai  of  Tiruppamburam  complained  against  me  and 
frustrated,  I  left  for  Trivandrum  but  was  brought  back  by  Semmangudi  Srinivasa  Ayyar...  I 
complained  to  the  Principal  on  the  inadequate  teaching  and  non-  completion  of  the 
syllabus,  Musiri  agreed  to  postpone  the  examination.  Pallavi  training  was  below 
mark.. .What  I  could  do  easily,  the  teachers  then  took  a  much  longer  time...  I  had  no 
gurukulavasa  and  it  has  its  advantages  and  disadvantages.  ' 

'  As  there  was  dearth  of  artistes  ,  the  All  India  Radio  was  then  hunting  for  musicians.  My 
father  took  me  to  the  AIR  station  and  there  he  was  humming,  as  I  was  having  my  audition. 
AIR  forced  him  too  to  sing!  We  both  sang!  That  was  the  paradox  of  the  day  ! ' 

TRS  holds  fast  to  certain  ideas  and  values,  as  for  instance  : 

There  is  now  more  search  for  applause.1 

'Music  is  but  one  more  source  of  occupation.' 

'I  am  prepared  to  go  anywhere  if  it  is  remunerative/ 

Youth  seeks  songs  and  not  deep  learning  in  music.' 

1  went  on  storing  music,  though  I  was  a  salesman  earlier.5 


'Many  are  interested  in  projecting  themselves  rather  than  their  learning.' 
They  rarely  understand  that  music  is  a  subject  of  sounds  and  not  of  words.' 

'Deterioration  is  clear  when  third  rate  people  shout  Pancharatna  kritis  at 


1  His  distinctive  style  of  singing  and  his  distinctive  ideas  on  music  have  both 
earned  for  him  and  his  disciples  the  sobriquet  of  "  Delhi  Gharana11  of  Carnatic 
music/  — Sruti. 

T.R.  Subramanyam  has  composed  varnas,  etc. 
Honours  &  Titles: 

Mahamahopadhyaya  by  the  Akil  Bharatiya  Gandharva  Mahavidyalaya  Mandal. 
Sangita  Kalanidhi  by  the  Kannada  Koota,  New  York. 
Sanglta  Choodamani. 

Posts  held : 

Lecturer,  Central  College  of  Carnatic  Music,  Madras. 

Reader,  Delhi  University  for  about  26  years. 

Hony  Director,  Gandharva  Maha  Vidyalaya,  New  Delhi. 

Prior  to  taking  up  the  posts,  he  had  been  with  prominent  companies  like 
Binnys  and  Estrella.  This  exposure  to  industrial  and  commercial  bodies  might 
have  exercised  its  own  influence  on  his  distinct  approach  to  men  and  matters. 

There  was  a  queer  development  during  November-December  1991  in  his 
career.  His  disciple  Radha  Venkatachalam  is  said  to  have  submitted  a  thesis 
captioned  'Epoch  Makers  of  the  Recent  Past  in  the  field  of  Carnatic  Music'  to 
the  Gandharva  Maha  Vidyalaya  containing  copious  'comments  sourced  -  if 
indirectly  -  to  TRS...  to  slander  numerous  personalities  connected  with  music1. 
The  magazine  'Sruti'ln  its  issue  no.86  brought  out  in  extenso  extracts  taking 
objection  to  a  prominent  musician  and  musicologist  playing  such  a  regrettable 
part  in  the  condemnable  episode.  It  would  appear  that  the  Federation  of  Sabhas, 
Madras  objected  to  the  role  of  T.R.  Subramanyam.  Consequently  his  concerts 
scheduled  for  December  1991  at  Madras  did  not  take  off  though  he  was  present 
in  his  usual  sartorial  perfection.  In  fact  the  first  announcement  was  made  by 
him!  The  music  festival  then  current  gave  wide  currency  to  the  development. 
Subramaniam  affirmed  that  he  had  the  best  of  regards  to  most  of  the  musicians 
derided  in  the  thesis  but  that  did  not  carry  much  weight; 



(Deer.  24,  1924  -  Septr.  1989) 

By  chance,  the  author  stepped  into  Bharatiya  Vidya  Bhavan,  Madras  with 
the  genial  musician  ,S.  Rajam  and  it  proved  to  be  a  pleasant,  satisfying 
experience  to  hear  the  top  T.V.  Sankaranarayanan  singing  the  compositions  in 
chaste  Sanskrit  and  tamil  of  Sundaraja  (Parvati  Srinivasan)  to  the  delight  of  the 
audience.  The  compositions  were  simple  in  diction,  elegant  in  their  thematic 
perception  and  appeal  and  measured  in  sahitya  like  those  of  Papanasam  Sivan 
to  provide  the  musician  ample  scope  to  bring  out  the  soul  of  the  song  and  the 
raga  and  the  beauty  and  message  of  the  sahitya.  The  notation  has  been 
embellished  by  Jayalakshmi  Sundararajan,  Nila  Srinivasan,  Charumati 
Ramachandran  and  V.  Subramanian.  The  name  '  Sundaraja'  is  a  pious  tribute 
to  the  father  of  the  composer,  Parvati  Srinivasan. 

Father:  N.  Sundaram  Ayyar  of  Ottapalem,  Advocate,  freedom 

fighter  and  Bhoodan  donor.  He  was  one  of  the  earnest, 
dedicated  followers  of  Vinobhaji  and  he  donated  his 
entire  landed  assets  of  47  acres  ! 

General  Qualification:  B.A.,  B.Ed., 

Musical  Training  under:         Desamangalam  Subramanya  Bhagavatar  and 

MA  Kalyanakrishna  Bhagavatar. 

Publications:  'Gananjali'  containing  52  songs  fully  notated. 

A  good  veena  player  and  a  good  writer,  Sundaraja  had  a  flair  for  social  work 
and  the  trust  started  to  honour  her  memory  carries  on  the  noble  task. 


(1884 -October  1927) 

'  Simizhi  Sundaram  Ayyar  is  one  of  the  eminent  vidwans  whom  Fame  failed  to  honour/ 

—  Mudicondan  Venkatarama  Ayyar. 

'  An  extraordinary  genius  of  superb  talents  and  scholarship.  His  very  breath  was  music. 
With  an  alert  mind  and  restless  energy,  he  gathered  the  treasures  of  the  Golden  Age. 
He  was  a  veritable  encyclopaedia  in  rhythm  and  melody.  His  resource  was  amazing. 
His  repertoire  was  colossal.  His  knowledge  of  tradition  was  profound.  An  ekasan- 
dagrahi,  he  was  a  typical  votary  of  Carnatic  music,  dedicated,  versatile,  immersed  in 
Nadopasana,  indifferent  to  praise  and  blame,  rooted  in  vairagya.  His  keen  insight  in  sruti 
values  that  determined  the  individuality  and  melodic  structure  and  swaras  enabled  him 
to  visualise  them  as  concrete  bodies.' 

—  R.  Rangaramanuja  Ayyangar. 

Sundaram  Ayyar  had  a  flair  for  research.  Dame  Luck  turned  not  its  attention 
on  him  but  went  after '  hidebound  cranks  with  closed  minds  and  cramped  vision  '. 
The  repository  of  the  Legacy  of  the  Golden  Age  commanded  respect  and  esteem 
among  the  knowledgeable  but  history  could  not  make  up  its  mind  to  give  him  the 


appropriate  recognition,  If  there  was  one  most  deserving  during  his  period  for 
Meritorious  Recognition  and  Popularity,  it  was  he.  Yet  he  was  praised  but  the 
world  forgot  to  act  further;  he  was  a  colossus  in  melody  and  wisdom  but  was 
left  in  the  dust ! 

If  Manambuchavadi  Venkatasubba  Ayyar  had  the  credit  of  moulding  the 

'Pancha    Ratnas'    (five    gems    of    eminent    musicians),    Simizhi    had    his 

disciple-gems    in     Mudicondan    Venkatarama    Ayyar,     Tiruvarur    Rajayee, 

Mayavaram  Rajam,  Flautist  Rajarama  Ayyar,  Mayavaram  Govindaraja  Filial  and 

Harmonist  S.S.   Mani,  Veena  Balachander,   Rangaramanuja  Ayyangar  and 

Papanasam  Sivan  were  among  the  many  who  were  inspired  by  him  and  it  was 

he  who  gave  the  honorific  Tamil  Tyagaraja5  to  Papanasam  Sivan,  Was  a  tireless 

worker  in  productive  endeavours  and  he  never  wasted  time.  Sundaram  Ayyar 

had  a  grand  personality.  In  contrast  to  his  sober,  calm,  humble  later  years,  he 

was  called  'scorpion'  while  young.  He  was  born  in  an  ocean  of  melody.  Brother 

K.V.  Rajarama  Ayyar  was  a  flautist  and  another  brother  K.V.  Venugopala  Ayyar 

was  a  violinist.  Times  were  not  propitious  then  lest  the  brothers  should  have 

presented  the  world  with  the  best  of  ensembles  The  fault  lay  in  Simizhi  being 

an  idealist;  and  idealism  rarely  enjoys  rights  to  claim  prosperity;  and  there  was 

no  local  Krishna  to  befriend  this  Kuchela  of  Simizhi  even  belatedly.   An  expert 

in  swaras,  his  rendition  was  classic.  Sundaram  Ayyar  had  his  training  under  two 

stalwarts,   viz.,   Ettayapuram   Ramachandra   Bhagavatar   (who  fathered  the 

musical  gifts  of  Marungapuri  Gopala  Krishna  Ayyar,  Melody-king  Pushpavanam, 

the     famous     Dhanakoti     Sisters,     Puducheri     Rangaswamy     Ayyar     and 

Sivasubramania  Ayyar)  and  the  eminent  Ramaswami  Sivan  at  Tiruvaiyaru 

during  1894-95.  At  the  age  of  twelve,  he  made  his  debut  at  Sengalipuram  near 

Kumbakonam  officiating  for  B.A.  Varadachariar  who  could  not  arrive.  He  took 

Mudicondan   Venkatarama   Ayyar  voluntarily   for  training    attracted    by   his 

musicianship  and  encouraged  him.  There  is,  indeed,  an  air  of  irony  in  their  lives 

that  both  were  idealists,  experts, 'colossuses  of  learning  and  highly  respected 

but  were  not  helped  to  prosper  materially! 

B..M.  SUNDARAM  -  MUSICOLOGIST:  (b.October  10,  1935) 

Son  of  the  magnificent  tavil  vidwan,  Needamangalam  Meenakshishundaram 
Pillai,  B.M.  Sundaram  is  a  musicologist.  His  legacy  is  vast  in  the  art  with  deep 
and  profound  knowledge  of  men  and  matters.  His  articles  are  detailed  and  full 
on  anecdotal  information.  His  'Monograph  on  Kancheeepuram  Naina  Pillai1 
bears  ample  evidence  of  this.  He  has  availed  of  the  immense  potential  of 
Saraswati  Mahal  Library,  Tanjore.  His  works  are  'Comparative  Study  of  Karnatak 
and  Hindustani  Systems  of  Music' and  a  compendium  of  over  3,000  raga-scales 
titled  'PalaiAzhi'.  He  has  some  more  researched  works  to  bring  out,  it  is  said. 
He  is  on  the  Staff  of  All  India  Radio,  Pondicherry  as  Music  Composer. 



(b.  1912) 

The  lad  of  thirteen  studying  at  the  Ramakrishna  Mission  Home,  Mylapore, 
then  a  temple  of  spiritual  culture,  snubbed  by  the  teacher  for  claiming  to  have 
composed  the-crisp  poem  'Sunflower',  speaking  through  his  tears,  challenged 
the  teacher  to  put  him  to  test.  'Fountain'  was  the  title  given  and  there  was  a  spot 
composition  to  the  admiration  of  the  teacher  and  the  amazement  of  the 
students.  That  was  his  maiden  feat  in  composition.  He  has  since  composed 
over  200  kritis,  varnams,  etc.,  besides  hundreds  of  nirupanams  for  musical 
discourses.  An  asukavi,  he  could  compose  on  any  subject  ex  tempore.  He 
passed  out  and  took  to  music  successively  under  Ettayapuram  Rajagopala 
Bhagavatar,  son  of  the  distinguished  Ramachandra  Bhagavatar,  Dasavadyam 
Salem  Veeraraghava  Bhagavatar  and  Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar.  He 
has  imbibed  much  of  the  Maharajapuram  style  and  is  full  of  praise  of  the 
magnificent  art  of  Ayyar.  He  was  in  the  first  batch  of  students  at  the  Annamalai 
University  Music  College  but  left  it  after  a  few  months.  He  is  Mannargudi 
Sambasiva  Bhagavatar,  the  harikatha  maestro  and  Secretary  cum  Executive 
Trustee,  Sri  Tyagaraja  Sangeeta  Vidwat  Samajam,  Mylapore  to  which  he  is 
passionately  devoted  over  the  decades. 

How  was  it  that  he  took  to  musical  discourse?  He  was  not  equipped  for  it. 
When  the  discourser  stipulated  for  a  day  did  not  turn  up  at  the  Samajam,  as 
Secretary  he  stepped  in  and  gave  a  classical  exposition  which  revealed  his 
hidden  talents,  vast  knowledge  and  immense  capability.  Instant  offers  to  render 
similar  exposition  naturally  forced  him  to  specialise.  His  composing  acumen  is 
his  tour  de  force  to  successfully  pilot  thematic  musical  discourses.  'Any  subject' 
is  good  for  him  and  he  had  covered  over  two  hundred  themes.  Immense 
musicianship,  vast  repertoire  of  songs  and  free  style  of  exposition  added  to  his 
profound  interest  in  delving  deep  into  the  reputed  works  of  masters  and 
highlight  their  bhava,  rasa  and  message  soon  crowned  him  with  success  and 
popularity.  'Sambasiva'  is  his  signature.  Eminent  violinists  and  percussionists 
have  provided  accompaniment  to  him.  Sambasiva  became  a  'Bhagavatar', 
when  Musiri  Subramania  Ayyar,  prime  exponent  of  bhava  -  rasa,  hailed  him  as 
a  bhava-rasa-katharatnakara. 

Place  of  birth 



Titles  &  Honours 


Rajam  Ayyar  &  Minakshi  Ammal 

1 933  at  the  Perambur  Sabha,  Madras. 

Harikatha  Kalakshepa  Jyoti  by  Swami  Sivananda  Saraswati,  Rishikesh 
Kalaimamani  by  the  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandram 
Sangeet  Sahitya  Joyti,  Samgeeta  Ratnam,  Harikatha  Sironmani,  Nadakanal  and 
Katharatnakara  are  among  the  titles  he  has  been  honoured  with. 

Post  held  :  Harikatha  Tutor,  Government  College  of  Carnatic  Music,  Madras. 

Disciples  :  M.  Chandrasekharan,  Jaya  Krishnan,  Vocalist  K.V.  Krishnan  and  the  late 
melody-queen  N.C.  Vasantakokilam  . 


K.B.  SUNDARAMBAL  -  MELODY  QUEEN:  (c.1907  -  Septr.  24,  1980) 

The  lass  was  born  poor  in  a  very  humble  family  but  was  rich  in  musical 
acumen  and  expression.  The  village  of  Kodumudi  on  the  banks  of  the 
rejuvenating  River  Cauvery  stole  the  distinction  of  cradling  her  on  birth.  Chill 
penury  faced  the  child  on  birth  and  soon  it  found  that  it  had  to  earn  not  only  its 
bread  but  also  her  mother's.  Penury  did  not  fortunately  stifle  her  noble  rage  and 
the  lass  went  about  trading  her  folk  songs  in  delectable  tunes  for  a  few  paise. 
Sympathetic  people  were  not  averse  to  part  with  a  small  coin  in  a  quid  pro  quo 
for  listening  to  the  little  girl's  melody.  But  how  long  could  this  be  done  and 
continued  ? 

Balambal,  her  mother  took  her  daughter  to  the  nearby  town  Karur,  a  nursery 
of  Classical  Carnatic  music  and  found  in  R.S.  Krishnaswamy  Ayyar,  Deputy 
Superintendent  of  Police,  a  sympathetic,  music  -  loving  officer.  With 
understandable  solicitude,  he  introduced  the  girl  to  the  celebrated  dramatist, 
P.S.  Velu  Nair,  one  of  the  reigning  dramatists,  in  1 91 7.  That  was  the  first  turning 
point  in  the  life  of  K.B.  Sundarambal,  the  ten-year  old  girl.  Velu  Nair  could  not 
be  said  to  be  extending  any  favour  in  taking  the  girl  to  his  dramatic  troupe  since 
the  girl's  golden  voice  was  an  asset  sufficient  to  lure  a  sizeable  crowd.  Her  voice 
traversed  the  three  octaves  effortlessly  without  faltering.  The  rustic  timbre  was 
crisp,  sure  and  steady.  The  strength  and  volume  of  the  pitch  were  such  that  the 
hall  would  echo  back  from  its  corners  in  those  days  of  mikeless  dramas  to 
packed  houses.  She  took  her  rehearsals  well  and  dished  out  melodious  Carnatic 
tunes  to  the  delight  of  the  thronging  crowds.  And  she  was  indeed  non  pare/7  in 
her  majestic,  magnificent  melody.  Hers  was  lakshya  sangita  at  its  best  Her 
musical  talents  grew  with  experience,  exposure  and  age.  It  should  be  noted  that 
she  sang  unconscious  of  and  oblivious  to  theoretical  stipulations  for  a  long  time. 

Cinderella  was  rescued  by  a  fairy  godmother  and  then  a  Prince  took  notice 
of  her.  For  this  musical  rustic  girl,  the  Prince  Charming  was  none  other  than  the 
top  star-dramatist,  S.G.  Kittappa.  In  the  poem  'Milkmaid',  when  the  boy  queries 
'What  is  your  fortune?',  the  girl  answers,  'My  face  is  my  fortune'.  The  asset  of 
the  girl  of  Kodumudi  was  neither  the  beauty  of  Cinderella  nor  her  face  as  in  the 
case  of  the  milkmaid.  Her  forte  was  her  thrilling,  captivating,  enchanting, 
exhilarating,  soulful  voice.  S.G.  Kittappa  with  his  keen  ear  for  melody  was 
passing  by.  He  could  not  but  pause  to  hear  the  arresting  voice.  It  was  love  at 
first  hearing  and  he  was  no  Dushyant  to  forget  this  Sakuntala.  It  was  a  marriage 
of  hearts,  of  melody,  of  the  nobler  elements  of  air  and  fire  free  from  the  base 
elements  of  earth  and  water.  Brahmin  Kittappa  married  the  streat-singer.  This 
Marriage  of  Melodies  in  1927  was  the  second  turning  point  in  her  life.  It  was 
indeed  a  landmark  in  the  annals  of  tamil  stage,  Of  course  it  was  the  Age  of 
Melody.  But  a  combination  of  SGK  -  KBS  could  easily  turn  the  wind  and  conquer 
the  world  any  day  and  today  too. 


Chaste  melody  rich  in  mysteriously  thrilling  tone,  brimming  with  bhava  and 
rasa  flowed  from  the  two  and  people  went  crazy.  All  the  air  was  filled  by  the 
magical  names  of  the  two.  1927-1933  was  the  Golden  Era  of  Tamil  Drama  and 
Carnatic  Music.  The  two  Angels  of  Melody  plundered  the  hearts  of  the 
cognoscenti  and  looted  the  emotions  of  the  lay  and  the  six  years  saw  on  the 
stage  soulful  music  of  a  style  never  heard  of  before  or  thereafter.  The 
impressionable  era  and  the  musical  gala  feast  were  too  grand,  glorious  and 
extravagant  to  last  for  long.  Kittappa  died  prematurely  in  1 933.  A  stunned  and 
bereaved  world  of  music,  drama  and  culture  in  anguish  could  find  none  to  fill  the 
void.  Sundarambal's  grief  too  was  understandable.  It  was  Kittappa  who  raised 
her  from  a  lovyly  street  -  singer  to  a  respected  dramatist,  elevated  her  personal 
and  social  status  and  took  her  to  his  bosom.  Ingratitude  was  not  in  her  element. 
Twenty  year  old  Cinderella  found  her  twenty-one  year  old  Prince.  Was  it  only  to 
lose  him  at  twenty-six?  Excruciating  void. 

She  was  entering  on  the  third  stage  of  her  impressionable  life.  She  rose 
above  the  stature  of  many  of  her  jlk.  She  was  born  humble  but  she  proved  her 
greatness  and  incomparable  faith  in  her  Religion  and  Indian  Culture.  (When  a 
famous  American  President  died,  there  were  suggestions  that  his  popular 
spouse  should  refrain  from  remarriage  but  remain  as  the  exalted  Senior  Lady  of 
the  Nation.  But  they  went  unheeded.)  Young  Sundarambal  donned  the  white 
saree  and  marked  her  forehead  with  the  sacred  ash  (vibhuti)  in  compliance  with 
tradition.  If  her  music  was  traditional,  how  could  her  way  of  life  and  faith  be 
different  ?  She,  in  her  appearance,  gave  the  image  of  Woman  Saints  of  the 
country.  She  lived  a  life  of  graceful  rectitude  giving  concerts  thereafter  which 
were  a  delight.  People-admired  her  before  but  respected  her  now  because  flesh 
was  flushed  out  of  her  life. 

There  were  two  films  for  which,  it  would  appear,  she  was  born  with  grace 
and  spiritual  charm.  The  first  picture  was  Nandanar,  the  vibrant  product  of  the 
great  tamil  revolutionary  composer,  Gopala  Krishna  Bharati.  She  played  the 
lead-role  and  the  role  of  the  landlord  was  taken  by  Maharajapuram  Viswanatha 
Ayyar,  the  wizard  of  Carnatic  music.  It  was  a  thundering  success.  The  only 
poignant  point  was  that  Bharati  who  wove  the  great,  first  -  ever  socio-spiritual 
tamil  opera  a  century  earlier  and  Kittappa  who  ignored  conventions  and 
distinctions  and  gracefully  grasped  the  hand  of  Sundarambal  in  wedlock  were 
not  there.  The  two  hearts  that  would  have  cherished  the  success  most  had 
stopped  to  throb  in  1881  and  1933!  Sundarambal  created  history  by  receiving  lakh  for  the  film  -  a  sum  unheard  of  then.  Avvayar  is  the  most  fragrant 
flower  of  Tamil  Poets  of  Wisdom.  But  people  had  not  seen  her;  she  was 
pre-historic.  Sundarambal  took  the  role  of  Avvayar  in  the  film.  It  was  a  roaring 
success  again. 

Her  expression  and  pronunciation  of  the  sahitya  (text  of  song)  were  crystal 
clear,  facile,  lucid  and  chaste  exuding  bhava  and  rasa.  A  devotee  of  Muruga, 


she  was  admired  and  respected.  The  tamil  proverb  says,  'Kuppayil  kidantalum 
kundumani  niram  maradu'  (The  color  of  the  Indian  liquorice  would  not  change 
even  if  it  be  in  the  dust).  Sundarambal's  life  is  a  sparkling  proof  and  specimen 
of  that  aphorism.  There  was  grace,  merit,  culture  and  above  all  the  image  of 
perfect  Indian  womanhood.  The  Government  recognised  the  truth  and  message 
of  her  life  and  in  1 958,  made  her  a  Member  of  the  Legislative  Council  -  perhaps 
the  only  way  to  express  the  appreciation  of  the  people  as  a  whole.  In  1 964,  the 
Tamil  Isai  Sangham  conferred  on  her  the  title  of  Tamil  Isai  Perarignar. 

Nallathangal  was  her  first  drama  at  Karur.  It  was  to  Karur  that  Sundarambal's 
mother  went  first  like  a  'Nallathangal'  in  distress.  Valli  Tirumanam5  was  the  first 
drama  at  Colombo  with  S.Q.K.  as  Muruga  and  K.B.S.  as  Valli.  It  was  all  ex 
tempore  dialogues  and  songs  and  not  the  rehearsed  routine  as  now.  They 
excelled  each  other.  It  did  not  end  in  jealousy  as  in  Poet  Illango's 
Kovalan-Madhavi;  their  melodies  were  Heaven's  gift  for  each  other,  When 
Kittappa  died,  she  learnt  Swara  Gnana  (expertise  in  swaras)  and  ascended  the 
concert  stage  vowing  that  without  Kittappa,  the  drama  stage  was  a  burning  ghat 
to  her.  That  an  urchin  girl  could  rise  up  to  such  sublime  levels  is  a  tribute  to  her 
innate  heart  born  of  sheer  love  and  gratitude.  It  is  said  that  she  bore  him  four 
children  but  none  survived,  probably  believing  that  her  music  was  the  best 
legacy  to  outlast  her  life  ! 

Her  films  included  ; 

Nandanar  Avvayar 

Manimekhalai  Tiruvilayadai 

Karaikai  Ammaiyar  Poompuhar 

Kandan  Karunai  Thunaivan 

Her  immortal  songs  included: 

Gnanappazhathai  pizhindu  -  Ragamallka 

Thanitthjrundu  vazhum  -  Todi 

Venniranindhadhenna  -  Shanmukhapriya 

A  'Homa'  bird  as  described  by  Swami  Ramakrishna  Paramahamsa,  her  voice 
soared  in  the  upper  octaves  effortlessly  and  felt  at  home  and  rarely  faltered 
because  of  fatigue.  Her  lakshya-based  concerts  lasted  for  five  hours  and  over. 

Concert  tours  ;          Sri  Lanka,  Malaysia.    - 

To  invoke  God  for  rains,  Rishivandiyam  in  South  Arcot  was  the  venue  for  a 
concert  of  KBS.  'I  shall  sing  till  rains  descend',  she  said  while  starting.  Four  and 
a  half  hours  passed.  Copious  rains  came  !  Undeterred,  she  went  on  with  her 
songs  on  Muruga.  The  drought-stricken  people  sat  entranced  in  the  downpour 
of  rain  and  melody. 


KBS,  had,  by  document  No.  6880  of  1975,  created  a  trust  of  her  properties 
for  charitable  and  religious  purposes,  She  had  later  executed  a  will  by  which  she 
had  confirmed  it  and  bequeathed  all  her  properties  to  the  said  trust.  It  is  said 
that  the  specific  trust  created  by  her  had  not  been  given  effect  to.  This  is 
for  the  Government  to  probe.  This  will  is  an  expression  of  a  sacred  wish! 

*     *     * 


Daughter  of  Subbanna  and  a  child  prodigy,  Sundaramma  had  her  lessons 
under  her  father  and  Vasudevachariar.  Her  speedy  assimilation  of  the  art 
enabled  her  to  render  even  pallavi  at  the  tender  age  of  ten.  In  her  fifteenth  year, 
she  "had  given  her  concert  before  the  .Maharaja  of  Mysore.  Had  sung  for  dramas 
also.  Enjoyed  a  melodious  voice. 

Abhinaya  Saradhe,  a  title  and  an  award  from  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  in 
1962  were  among  the  recognition  she  got. 

*     *      * 

P.R.  SUNDAR  RAJ  AN  -  VOCALIST:  (b.  1917) 

Parents  :          RS.  Ramachandra  Ayyar  &  Kunjammal 

Place  of  birth  :          Pudukkottai. 

Sundar  Rajan  had  his  musical  training  under  the  junior  of  the  Trichy  Brothers, 
T.R.  Swaminatha  Ayyar,  who  is  perhaps  the  senior  most  performing  musician 
today.  Later  he  learnt  under  Bangalore  Prof.  Ramachandra  Ayyar  who  taught 
Mathematics  at  Vijaya  College  and  music  at  home  like  Prof.  R.  Srinivasan.  Made 
his  debut  at  the  Sadguru  Sangeetha  Sabha,  Tiruchirapalli  during  the  Tyagaraja 
Aradhana.  Sundar  Rajan  was  giving  concerts  on  the  All  India  Radio,  Mysore, 
Bangalore  and  Tiruchirapalli  and  has  been  coaching  a  large  number  of  disciples 
including  the  author  of  this  book. 

He  has  a  very  rich  repertoire  of  Dikshitar  kritis  and  is  one  of  the  few  now  who 
could  boast  of  two  hundred  such  kritis  and  over.  Has  evolved  five  pallavi(s)  with 
notation  and  script.  An  amiable  musician,  he  is  said  to  be  an  expert  in  vyvahara 

A.  SUNDARESAN  -  VOCALIST:  (b.1932) 

Parents         :  Appaswamy  Ayyar,  a  Sanskrit  pandit,  &  Nagarathinammal. 

Sundaresan  had  a  fine  sense  of  music  even  while  young  and  it  attracted  the 
notice  of  Vidwan  TV.  Krishnamurti  who  took  him  as  a  disciple.  1 942-1 945  were 


the  years  of  his  training.  He  enriched  much  of  his  musical  stock  by  hearing 
celebrated  vocalists  like  Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar,  Ariyakudi 
Ramanuja  Ayyangar  and  Madurai  Mani  Ayyar,  passed  the  Praveen  course  of 
the  Egmore  Dramatic  Society  Sangita  Vidyasala.  He  derived  deep  inspiration 
from  Ramnad  Krishnan  and  imbibed  Veena  Dhanammal  style  which  he  is  said 
to  have  refined  to  suit  his  own  genius  and  aspirations.  He  started  giving 
concerts.  His  rendition  is  noted  for  sruti  integrity  and  innovative  swaras. 

M.A.  SUNDARESWARAN  -  VIOLINIST:  (b.December  28,  1959} 

Violin  would  seem  to  have  been  introduced  in  Carnatic  music  for  certain 
musical  families  to  adopt  or  appropriate  it  as  their  own.  The  Parur  family  is  one 
among  them.  Parur  ^undaram  Ayyar  and  his  renowned  sons,  Anantaraman  and 
Gopalakrishnan  have  distinguished  themselves  and  M.A.  Sundareswaran  and 
his  brother  M.A.  Krishnaswamy,  sons  of  M.S.  Anantaraman  have  inherited  the 
rich  family  legacy.  Sundareswaran  has  had  the  benefit  of  having  training  under 
his  grandfather,  father  and  uncle  and  is  proficient  in  both  the  Hindustani  and 
Carnatic  styles.  The  father  and  his  two  sons  have  been  giving  trio  -  violin 
concerts  and  Sundareswaran  is  among  the  prominent  violin  artistes  now, 
Besides  he  is  '  A '  Grade  artiste  with  the  All  India  Radio. 

Disc  recordings  :          Audio  and  Video  cassettes  as  soloist  and  accompanist. 

Concerttours  :          USSR,  U.K.,  Australia  and  Singapore. 

Title  :          Nada  Oli  Ratnam  by  the  Dandayudhapani  Bharata 

Natya  Kalaiagam,  Madras  in  1989  -  besides  awards 
from  Music  Academy,  Indian  Fine  Arts,  etc. 

R.K.  SURYANARAYANA  -  VEENA  ARTISTE;  (b.  July  19,1926) 

Parents  :  R.S.  Kesavamurti,  Asthana  vidwan,  Mysore  and 

Venkatalakshmi  Ammal. 

Suryanarayana  hails  from  a  musical  family  of  musical  Rudrapatnam  and  had 
his  training  with  his  father.  Performed  at  the  age  of  seven  before  the  Maharajah 
of  Mysore.  His  23-stringed  veena  is  a  family  heirloom  treasured  for  three 
centuries.  The  extra  strings  produce  orchestral  sounds  when  the  basic  strings 


Titles  and  Honours: 

Kala  Poorna 


Veena  Chakravarti 

Bharata  Vainika  Rathna 

Nadha  Jyothi 

Kaiaimamani  from  the  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  Isai  Nataka  Mandrarn  in  1978. 


(1870-  December  1942) 

Gayaka  Siromani  Vidwan  Swaminatha  Ayyar  was  born  in  Pazhamaneri  in 
Tanjore  district,  of  Ramaswamy  Ayyar  in  a  family  of  vaidikas,  scholars  and 
musicians  amidst  the  chosen  environs  of  Nature  with  rich  "paddy  fields,  ample 
groves,  rivers  and  channels  intersecting  roads  and  villages  in  the  upper  reaches 
of  the  Cauvery  Delta.  His  birth  coincided  with  the  advent  of  many  a  stalwart  like 
Annamalai  Reddiar,  Mysore  Vasudevachariar,  Veena  Venkataramana  Das, 
Bidaram  Krishnappa,  Poochi  Srinivasa  Ayyangar,  Veena  Dhanammal, 
Tirupazhanam  PanchapakesaSastri,  SarabhaSastri,  etc.  Studied  Vedas  under 
his  father  Ramaswami  Ayyar.  He  was  the  most  successful  of  the  disciples  of 
Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar.  In  his  pallavi  and  swara  singing,  people  saw  glimpses 
of  the  Great  Vidwan,  his  guru.  He  was  the  only  musician  to  give  vocal  concerts, 
himself  playing  simultaneously  the  violin  which  he  held  up  without  resting  it  on 
his  leg.  His  forte  was  the  rendering  of  the  padas  of  Kshetragna  of  which  he  had 
a  considerable  repertoire. 

Swaminatha  Ayyar  was  also  a  capable  teacher.  He  was  honoured  by  the 
Music  Academy  with  the  title  of  '  Sangita  Kalanidhi  '  in  1931.  Pazhamaneri 
Swamigal,  an  Adwaitic  Saint  was  his  brother.  Was  a  pioneer  in  publishing 
modern  works  with  notation.  Ayyar  studied  Sanskrit  works  on  music  and 
published  ' Ragabhodini  'early  this  century.  He  was  on  the  Experts  Committee 
of  the  Music  Academy. 

*     *     * 

Perhaps  the  seniormost  practising  vocalist,  Trichy  Swaminatha  Ayyar  and 
his  brothers.  Ramachandra  Ayyar  were  giving  concerts  as  Trichy  Brothers  from 
1926.  Grandsons  of  Orapalli  Ayya  Bhagavatar  and  sons  of  Fiddle  Subramania 
Ayyar,  the  duo  were  popular.  Swaminatha  Ayyar  learnt  music  -  both  vocal  and 
violin  -  from  his  father  and  special  compositions  from  Tillaisthanam  Panju 
Bhagavatar.  Made  his  debut  in  1926  at  the  Tiruvisanallur  Ayyaval  Jayanthi 
Celebrations.  A  versatile  musician  and  a  pallavi  exponent,  he  has  given  many 
jugalbandi  performances  with  Hindustani  musicians  and  sings  remarkably  well 
in  his  eighties  now. 


Has  composed  tamil  and  Sanskrit  pieces.  Was  Principal,  Sri  Shanmukha- 
nanda  Sabha  Music  School  and  Kalasadan,  Bombay. 

Honours  and  Titles: 

Sangeetha  Ratna  from  Narada  Gana  Sabha,  Madras 
Certificate  of  Merit  from  Music  Academy,  Madras. 


Umayalpuram  has  been  one  of  the  most  fertile  nurseries  of  classical 
Carnatic  music  -  vocai,  instrumental  and  percussive.  Swaminatha  Ayyar  was  a 
stalwart  among  them.  Pupil  of  the  famous  Umayalpuram  Krishna  Bhagavatar 
and  Sundara  Bhagavatar,  direct  disciples  of  Tyagaraja,  Swaminatha  had  learnt 
music  earlier  by  closely  watching  his  elder  brother  sing;  later  learnt  under  the 
Vainika  Tiruvalangadu  Tyagaraja  Dikshitar  and  then  under  Kekkarai  Muthu 
Ayyar,  To  crown  it  all,  he  underwent  a  four-year  gurukulavasa  under  Maha 
Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  when  T.S.  Sabhesa  Ayyar  and  Pazhamaneri  Swaminatha 
Ayyar  were  also  under  training.  Quite  fittingly  all  the  three  became  Sangita 
Kalanidhis  (title  conferred  by  the  Music  Academy,  Madras). 

On  his  gurukulavasa,  Swaminatha  Ayyar  says  : 

11  In  course  of  time,  Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  came  to  like  me.  I  used  to  accompany  him 
to  his  concerts.  Only  occasionally  he  would  give  tuitions.  But  I  would  follow  raga 
improvisation,  swara  combinations,  techniques  of  pallavi  rendition,  etc.,  very  closely, 
assimilate  them  and  get  doubts  clarified  by  him.  I  had  enquired  him  on  the  22  srutis  and 
he  stated, "  We  have  only  1 2  srutis.  But  in  raga  sancharas,  in  conformity  with  the  bhava 
and  the  modulations  of  swaras,  twenty- two  srutis  would  automatically  present  themsel- 
ves. But  we  could  not  specify  their  places. " 

Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  had  himself  honoured  his  pupil  with  a  tambura  and 
a  shawl!  He  presented  him  a  book  in  manuscript  got  from  a  vidwan  of  Pudukottai 
who  got  it  in  turn  from  Tirunelveli  giving  the  arohana-avarohana  of  72  melakartas 
and  of  over  a  thousand  janya  ragas  and  raga  lakshana  gitams  of  over  three 
hundred  ragas.  The  guru-pupil  relationship  between  the  two  is  a  succinct  story 
and  example  of  the  form  and  secret  of  the  success  of  gurukulavasa,  an  institution 
of  unparalleled  success  now  lost  for  ever.  Mysore  Vasudevachariar  gives  a  like 
experience  with  his  guru,  Patnam  Subramania  Ayyar!  The  pupil  is  adopted  into 
the  home  of  the  guru  and  becomes  a  mini  version  of  the  guru  in  art  and  science. 
The  guru  gave  his  all  and  the  pupil  took  his  guru  as  his  god.  It  was  not  a 
syllabus-bound  mechanical  training  but  bhava-bhakti-jnana-dhana-oriented  life 
which  held  sway  from  before  the  days  of  Vyasa-Suka  down  to  the  middle  of  the 
twentieth  century  in  the  fields  of  languages  and  arts.  (For  an  epitaph  on  it  please 
refer  'A  Garland1.} 


Ayyar  was  honoured  by  H.H.  the  Sankaracharya  of  Kanchi  with  the  title  of 
'Nadanubhavasarajnana'  and  was  patronised  by  Tiruvaduthurai  Mutt.  His 
disciples  are  many  including  Maharajapuram  Viswanatha  Ayyar  and 
Semmangudi  Srinivasa  Ayyar. 

*     *     * 


(19  02  1855  -  28  04  1942) 

1  Dr.  U.Ve.  Swaminatha  Ayyar  and  Subbarama  Dikshitar  were  both  orthodox  brahmins 
who  belonged  to  the  old  school  and  ways  of  living;  but  few  modern  scholars  can  compete 
with  them  for  their  modernity,  integrity  and  prodigious  industry. 1 

—  T.S.  Parthasarathy. 

It  is  with  a  sense  of  veneration,  admiration  and  amazement  that  I  take  my 
pen  to  write  this  brief  biographical  note  on  the  greatest  and  foremost  research 
scholar  in  tamil  and  an  eminent  biographer  and  musicologist.  'Swaminatha  Ayyar 
competed  with  the  bee  and  surpassed  it  in  industry. '  The  Tamil  World  is  eternally 
indebted  to  him  for  unearthing  many  a  golden  work  which  were  decaying 
unhonoured  and  unrecognised  and  languishing  unnoticed,  unwept  and  unsung 
in  the  neglected  labyrinths  of  far-flung  villages.  To  Ayyar  the  renaissance  and 
regeneration  of  tamil  classics  owe  their  glorious  beginnings.  His  uncanny  mind 
was  able  to  trace  and  lay  hands  on  hidden  classics  on  palmyrah  leaves  in  nooks 
and  corners.  His  deep  penetrative  intellect  diciphered  and  collated  differing, 
discrepant  scripts  with  the  immense  energy  and  enthusiasm  of  an  explorer, 
epigraphist,  linguist  and  crusader  all  in  one.  The  super  computerised  efficiency 
of  the  crusading  explorer  brought  back  to  focus  and  life  work  after  work  to  the 
amazement  and  joy  of  tamil  people  and  scholars. 

Swaminatha  Ayyar  combined  in  himself  broad  vision  with  an  incisive  intellect, 
deep  penetration  with  detective  analysis,  an  untiring  mind  for  details  with 
immaculate  power  for  codification.  He  was  an  excellent  biographer,  authentic 
historian,  alluring  short  story  writer,  a  linguist  nonpareil  and  a  giant  intellectually 
and  physically.  A  wholesome  product  of  the  pristine  culture  of  India,  he  was 
simple,  affable,  communicative  and  large-hearted,  His  statue  adorns  the  campus 
of  the  Presidency  College  on  the  Marina  in  Madras.  Opposite  to  his,  stands  most 
significently  the  statue  of  Kannagi,  the  finest  Symbol  of  Chastity  and  of 
Goddess  Shakti,  the  noblest  creation  of  the  tamil  poet,  Illango,  in  his 
Qilapathikaram  pointing  to  the  statue  of  Ayyar  as  if  declaring  - 

*  There  sits  the  noble  son  of  the  tamil  world  who  is  an  inspiration  and 
trail-blazer  to  future  generations!  Revere  him!  ' 

A  library  is  run  in  the  campus  of  Kalakshetra,  Madras.  His  disciples  were 
many  including  his  son  Kalyanasundaram  Ayyar,  M.V.  Ramanujachariar, 
Chockalinga Tambiran  and  Ki. Va.  Jagannathan.  The  library  houses  21 69  cadjan 
leaf  manuscripts  and  1 8000  printed  books. 


Son  of  Venkatasubba  Ayyar  and  Saraswati  Ammal,  he  was  born  at 
Uthamadanapuram  in  Tanjore  district.  At  the  age  of  seven,  he  went  to 
Tirukundram  in  Udayarpalayam  taluk  and  one  day  heard  the  song  Teeyinil 
moozhginar  (Kanada)  in  Nandanar  Charitram  drama  enacted  there.  It  was  the 
drama  on  Harischandra,  the  Prince  of  Truth,  in  the  case  of  Mohandas 
Karamchand  Gandhi  and  Nandanar,  the  Apostle  of  Devotion,  in  the  case  of 
Swaminatha  that  acted  as  a  catalytic  agent.  He  was  humming  the  songs  the  next 
day.  The  violinist-father  was  delighted  to  see  his  aptitude  for  music  and  started 
the  preliminary  lessons.  Swaminathan  had  special  lessons  under  - 

Venkatanarayana  Ayyar,  his  grandfather:  1     jn  sanskm  apd  musj    an(j 

Narayana  Ayyar  and  Swaminatha  Ayyar:  •» 

Ariyalur  Sadagopa  Ayyangar,  Kunnarn  Kasturi     1  . 

Ayyangar  and  Senganam  Vridhachala  Reddiar   f 

On  August  1 6, 1 868,  the  thirteen  year  old  Swaminathan  married.  In  his  case, 
it  was  not  only  not  a  case  of  '  vivaham  vidya  nacanam  '  (marriage  blocks 
knowledge),  but  the  plant  learnt  to  flower  with  greater  charm  and  colour  with  the 
tendril  twining  around  and  nourishing  it. 

From  April  1 870  to  February  1 , 1 876,  he  studied  under  the  great  tarn i I  savant 
Vidwan  Meenakshisundaram  Pillai  and  on  the  demise  of  that  scholar,  came 
under  the  direct  tutelage  of  Sri  Subramania  Desikhar  of  Tiruvaduthurai  Mutt. 
There  ensued  an  era  of  unique  and  fruitful  search  and  research  on  an  unheard 
of  scale  and  publication  of  tamil  classics.  Later  Swaminatha  Ayyar  was  Lecturer 
in  Tamil,  Government  College,  Kumbakonam,  where  he  won  the  profound 
esteem  of  colleagues,  students  and  the  public.  When  he  was  giving  tuitions  to 
Salem  Ramaswamy  Mudaliar,  District  Munsif ,  he  got  exposure  to  the  hidden 
treasures  of  ancient  tamil  works.  Surely  the  scholar  should  have  cried  'Eureka'. 
He  should  have  shouted  so  not  once  but  many  more  times  since  Destiny  had  to 
lay  faith  in  this  good  son  to  retrieve  one  after  another  of  unknown,  hidden  tamil 
classics  as  none  else  would  do  it.  To  decry  eminence,  there  is  a  legion.  The 
great  series  of  publications  started  with  'Jeevaka  Chintamani' in  1887.  The  list 
of  works  published  is  long  and  strident  and  the  manuscripts  he  left  are  equally 
large.  1861  saw  Nandanar  Charitram  the  first  socio-spiritual  tamil  opera.  In 
1 885,  the  Indian  National  Congress  had  its  beginnings  at  Madras  with  its  unique 
and  un-paralleled  history  and  influence.  Indian  and  Tamil  Renaissance  was  in 
full  swing.  U.Ve.  Saa.  was  one  of  the  ambrosial  flowers  who  shaped  music, 
language,  biography,  research,  etc. 

While  yet  a  boy,  in  1871  his  violinist-father  took  him  to  Gopala  Krishna 
Bharati  for  training  in  music.  When  it  was  mentioned  that  he  was  taking  tuitions 
in  tamil  from  Vidwan  Meenakshisundaram  Pillai,  Bharati  exclaimed, 
'  Meenakshisundaranar  is  an  enemy  of  music  '  and  that  he  would  not  permit  it. 
Secretly  the  music  tuitions  started;  but  the  Tamil  savant  once  espied  the  boy 
humming  his  musical  lessons  and  found  out  the  truth.  True  to  what  Bharati  had 


said,  '  Tamil  or  Music  -  not  both  ',  he  ruled.  Musical  training  was  the  casualty 
as  Ayyar  loved  tamil  more  and  Destiny  played  its  role  too.  The  chosen  field  of 
his  advent  and  mission  in  life  was  unmistakably  tamil.  TAMIL  WORLD  IS  STILL 

Legacy  and  aptitude  for  music  did  not  however  get  lost  in  the  waters  of  River 
Kudamurutti,  or  the  River  Cauvery  which  flow  nearby.  His  innate  genius 
asserted  itself  and  he  collected  great  many  details  of  musicians  and  composers. 
Some  have  appeared  in  print  and  incomplete  manuscript  notes  are  extant.  As 
I  mentioned  in  'A  Garland' thai  the  venerable  Doctor  thought  of  bringing  out  a 
collection  on  the  lives  of  musicians  but  his  crowded  life  was  a  fight  against  the 
clock  and  the  calender.  His  weighty  contributions  attracted  the  notice  of  the  Lord 
and  he  was  withdrawn  to  be  by  His  side  -  but  only  after  he  had  completed  the 
memorable  publication  of  the  lives  of  Gopala  Krishna  Bharati,  Maha  Vaidyanatha 
Ayyar  and  Ghanam  Krishna  Ayyar.  They  are  excellent  biographies  noted  for 
factual  integrity,  beauty  and  clarity.  All  the  great  maestros  were  great  lovers  of 
tamil  zoo.  'Dr  Ayyar  has  written  a  series  of  delightful  vignettes  besides  his  own 
biography  which  he  left  incomplete  on  his  demise  as  800  pages  had  brought  it 
up  only  to  1900  with  forty-two  impressionable  years  left  uncovered.  'His 
account  of  meeting  Sankarabharanam  Narasa  Ayyar,  etc.,  gives  a  strident  and 
startling  account  of  men  and  matters,  social  values  and  economic  conditions. 
His  works  are  characterized  by  Intricacy  of  detailing,  virtuosity  of  workmanship 
and  overall  coherence1. 

Titles  and  honours  have  no  relevance  to  such  Men  of  Destiny.  Here  are 

Mahamahopadhyaya  Government  of  India  1 906. 

Dravida  Vidya  Bhushanam  Bharatha  Dharma  Mandal  1 91 7. 

Dakshinadya  Kalanidhi  Sri  Sankaracharya  of  Kanchi  Kamakoti  Mutt  1925. 

Doctorate  University  of  Madras  1 932, 

Official  posts  held  : 

Lecturer  in  Tamil,  Government  College,  Kumbakonam;  February  1 6,  1 880  - 1 903. 
Lecturer,  Presidency  College,  Madras  1 903  - 1 91 9. 

Principal,  Sri  Meenakshi  Tamil  College,  Chidambaram  1 924  - 1 927. 

True  greatness  is  ever  humble;  water  in  full  pot  spills  not.  Swaminatha 
Ayyar  was  a  teacher  of  teachers  and  a  pioneer  research-scholar  of  vast  parts, 
deep  penetration  and  captivating  expression.  His  diction  is  of  Gandhian 
simplicity,  at  once  charming  and  dazzling.  The  panorama  of  his  activity  was 
gigantic.  His  vivid  memory  was  a  challenge  to  the  computer.  The  eminence  of 
the  man  has  not  been  receiving  the  recognition  that  is  his  due  in  the  last  few 
decades,  it  is  felt.  His  monumental  work  and  immortal  contribution  are  apt  to 
escape  the  notice  of  the  younger  generation.  The  fiftieth  year  of  his  demise  was 
celebrated  by  well  -  meaning  admirers  like  G.  K.  Moopanar  at  Kumbakonam  near 


Uthamadanapuram  on  28-04-1 992,  I  could  not  resist  the  temptation  to  linger  on 
a  little  more  on  his  historic  life  -  a  watershed  in  the  history  of  tamil  and  music, 

What  was  the  condition  of  tamil  classics  prior  to  1 887? 

11  Great  poets  had  heard  of  Sangam  literature  but  knew  not  what  they  were.  Kovalan, 
Kannagi  and  Madhavi  were  mere  names  in  folk  tales  and  ballads  and  none  knew  that 
they  were  characters  in  the  classic  'Cilappadhikaram'.  They  knew  not  the  difference 
5etween  'Agananooru  'and  'Purananooru  'nor  were  they  aware  of  the  religion  to  which 
the  classic  '  Manimekhalai '  related  ! " 

Thanks  to  the  life-long  labours  and  service  of  the  Doctor,  even  boys  in 
elementary  schools  know  it  all  now,  That  is  the  imperishable  magnificence  of 
his  work  and  the  magnititude  of  his  monumental  contribution.  The  tamil  savant 
Thiru.  Vi.  Ka.  sums  up  thus: 

1  U.  Ve.  Sa's  birth  was  Tamil;  his  growth  was  Tamil,  His  life  was  Tamil.  He  had  his  whole 
being  in  Tamil.  He  became  Tamil.  And  he  was  Tamil/ 

The  mighty  Rajaji,  never  known  for  his  liberal  praises,  calls  Ayyar  '  Tamil 
Vyasa'.  Reverentially  called  Tamil  Thatha'  (GOM),  Doctor  U.  Ve.Sa.  combined 
in  himself  the  pioneering  energies  of  a  Kalhan  in  historic  perception,  a 
Venkatamakhin  in  codification,  a  Vyasa  in  story-writing,  a  Subbarama  Dikshitar 
in  presenting  a  thesaurus  and  a  Dickens  in  gracious  flowing  style.  National 
Poet  Mahakavi  Subrahmania  Bharati  adored  him  as  '  Kumbha  Muni  '  of  eternal 


By  Ayyar : 

Tamil  Sangham  Compilations  Tamil  Kavyas 

Sthala  puranams  Grammar  Prabhandas  & 

a  host  of  other  items. 
By  the  library: 
Sangham  Literature  and  a  large  number  of  other  items. 


(20th  Century) 

Swaminatha  Sastrigal  had  his  musical  training  and  inspiration  from  Veena 
Varadayya,  Tiruvaiyaru  Ramamurti  Ayyar,  Umayalpuram  Swaminatha  Ayyar, 
Vedaranyam  Pallavi  Ramachandra  Ayyar,  Kallidaikurichi  Sundaram  Ayyar  and 
Tiger  Varadachariar  -  an  array  of  stalwarts.  Was  Music  Teacher,  Tirutturaipundi 
Government  High  School  and  is  now  running  the  Tyaga  Brahma  Sangita 
Vidyalaya  for  training  students,  Has  composed  two  hundred  songs  with  the 
signature  '  Varadadasan  '.  Has  published  'Gana  Sudha  '  in  1978. 



Son  of  Srinivasachariar,  Thathacharsar  stopped  his  collegiate  studies  with 
Intermediate  and  took  to  music.  Had  his  training  with  Veena  Krishnamachariar 
of  Arya  Gana  Vidyasala  and  later  in  1 938  under  Rallapalli  Anantakrishna  Sarma. 
He  started  giving  concerts  on  the  All  I  ndia  Radio  in  1 938  and  soon  was  appointed 
as  Staff  Artiste.  Later  he  went  over  to  Akash  Vani,  Mysore  in  1942  and  then  to 
Bangalore  and  retired.  Much  of  his  musical  activity  was  for  the  All  India  Radio. 

COIMBATORE  THAYEE  -  VOCALIST  :  (1872  -  1917) 


Palani  Kunjaram,  daughter  of  musician  Vengathammal  became  Coimbatore 
Thayee  later,  the  word  of  affection  prevailing  over  the  designated  name.  She 
learnt  dance  under  Subbaraya  Nattuvanar  and  music  under  Karur  Ramachary, 
Mysore  Kempa  Gowda,  Kivalur  Ramachandra  Ayyar  as  well  as  Tiruvisanallur 
Narayanaswami  Ayya.  For  professional  causes,  she  shifted  to  the  more 
prosperous  Madras  and  enjoyed  a  large  number  of  concerts  in  Andhra  Pradesh, 
Karnataka  and  Tamil  Nadu.  Though  she  did  not  enjoy  a  majestic  (gambhira) 
voice,  her  tone  and  rendition  were  soothing  and  satisfying.  Her  four-hour 
concerts  would  start  with  four  kalais  and  with  pallavi  would  come  to  two  kalais 
and  there  would  a  happy  blend  of  javalis,  tamil  songs  etc.  Enjoyed  an  immense 
repertoire.  Laiitangi  (M.LV's  mother)  was  among  her  disciples.  Tiruvotriyur 
Tyagayyar  was  her  patron. 

Disc  recordings: 

*     *     * 


The  restless  life  found  itself  in  tune  only  with  nobler  elements  and  propagated 
basic  principles  of  morality  to  enlighten  the  public.  Having  experienced  Bliss,  he 
exhorted  the  people  to  follow  the  basic  tenets  of  Godliness.  God  has  neither 
caste  nor  family,  neither  birth  nor  death.  His  works  'Anandakalippu'  and 
'Parapara  Kanni*  bring  out  the  essence  of  true  spiritualism. 

Thayumanavar  was  born  at  the  scriptural  jungle  called  Vedaranyam,  of 
Kediliappa  Pillai  and  Gajavalli.  An  enlightened  man  and  enterprising 
agriculturist,  his  father  was  taken  by  the  Chieftain  atTiruchirapalli,  Muthu  Vijaya 
Reghunatha  Chockalinga  Nayak  for  Palace  Administration.  Thayumanavar  who 
had  undergone  studies  in  tamil,  telugu  and  Sanskrit,  stepped  into  his  father's 


post  on  the  latter's  demise.  When  the  Chieftain  died  his  lady  is  stated  to  have 
felt  drawn  by  the  attractive  features  of  Thayumanavar.  Well-versed  in  philosophy 
and  thirsting  for  God-realisation,  Thayumanavar  realised  that  the  palace  was 
ill-suited  for  his  life's  mission  and  left.  He  was  on  pilgrimage,  married  and  lost 
his  wife  when  she  begot  a  child.  His  songs  are  popular. 




Thenmatam  Brothers  were  tutors  to  quite  a  large  number  of  lady  artistes  and 
both  were  sahitya  kartas  also  composing  kirtans,  swarajatis  and  gitas.  Their 
compositions  were  published  in  a  book  titled  Sangitananda  Ratnakara.  About 
fifty  pieces  do  not  seem  to  have  been  published  yet.  The  violinists  were  religious 
and  were  popular  in  Andhra  Pradesh.  Narasimhachariar  had  translated 
Ramayana  also  into  telugu.  The  Journal  of  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  makes 
special  mention  of  their  musical  capabilities.  Chinna  Singaracharyulu  wrote  in 
1905  that  the  Brothers  were  good  violinists. 

K.C.  THIAGARAJAN  -  MUSICIAN:  (b.  Decr.15,  1913) 

Thiagarajan  was  born  at  Krishnapuram  in  Pattukottai  taluk,  of 
K.C.  Chidambara  Ayyar,  atamil  vidwan  and  Chellammal.  He  had  his  training  in 
music  under  Veedividangan  Pillai  of  Tiruvarur  and  Tanjore  Krishnamoorti 
Nayudu.  Was  Music  Producer,  All  India  Radio  during  1939  -  1971.  Thiagarajan 
was  vocalist  and  instrumentalist  who  could  play  on  violin,  gottuvadyam  and 
jaiatarangam.  He  has  been  giving  concerts  and  taking  earnest  interest  in  the 
deliberations  of  the  Experts  Committee  of  the  Music  Academy,  Madras.  Has 
contributed  articles.  He  became  Principal,  Teachers'  College  run  by  the 
Academy  in  1971  .The  versatile  artiste-pedagogue  was  honoured  with  a 
Certificate  of  Merit  by  the  Academy  in  1 977. 


A  good  man  and  a  good  percussionist,  Thukkaram  had  provided  percussion 
support  to  top  vocalists  like  Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar,  Patnam  Subramania  Ayyar 
and  Todi  Sundara  Rao.  Was  famous  for  'meetu,  gumki  and  purattal',  fingering 
and  contrived  sound  variations.  He  accepted  concerts  without  distinction  for  all. 

nf  V/itt£*l     a    Hm/ntao    rvf    Panrli  ironnon    rvf    PanHoriru  ir     Thi  iL'L'orcjm      olen 


mridangam.  The  finer  aspect  of  it  is  that  the  gumkaram  would  be  raised  both 
when  his  hand  goes  to  and  from  on  the  thoppi;  perhaps  few  could  do  it. 
Sulamangalam  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar  pays  glowing  tributes  to  the  intricacies 
of  his  play.  If  during  a  concert,  the  instrument  develops  sruti  bheda,  he  would 
not  stop  to  rectify  as  most  do  but  would  go  on  giving  accompaniment  with  the 
thoppi  Valantaram  till  the  song  is  over.  This  is  a  practice  worth  emulation  atleast 
when  the  principal  artiste  is  gathering  momentum.  (Tirukkodikaval  Krishna  Ayyar 
and  one  or  two  others  are  credited  with  playing  on  a  single  string  on  such 
occasions  without  stopping  to  rectify  their  violin.)  Thukkaram  came  to  be  called 
Thoppi  Thukkaram'.  Bhagavatar  records  that  Dakshinamurty  Pillai,  Azhaga 
nambi  Pillai  and  other  stalwarts  drew  inspiration  from  Thukkaram.  'Only  in  the 
concerts  of  Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  and  Sarabha  Sastri,  his  -play  could  not 
dominate  on  the  principal  artiste.  All  others  would  get  dwarfed.'  (Bhagavatar). 
Bhagavatar  5s  description  of  Thukkaram  vis-a-vis  ordinary  musicians  reminds  the 
author  of  Fred  Allen's  sarcasm  — 

1  The  lion  and  the  calf  may  lie  together; 
But  the  calf  would  not  get  much  sleep.1 


Ramachandran  Nair,  I.A.S.  is  an  eminent  lyricist  and  Thulaseevanam  is  his 
pseudonym.  He  is  a  scholar  in  malayalam  and  Sanskrit  and  started  composing 
songs  in  1 971 .  A  disciple  of  Sri  Paramabhattaraka  Sri  Vidyarthi  Raja  Swamigal, 
his  lyrics  are  profoundly  devotional.  He  has  drawn  inspiration  from  the 
compositions  of  Swati  Tirunal  Maharajah,  Narayana  Tirtha  and  Jayadeva  and 
'his  Gitaganga  is  perennial1  -  Thulaseevana  Sangita  Parishat  propagates  his 



Son  of  Vina  Kuppayyar,  the  eminent  disciple  of  Tyagaraja,  Tiruvotriyur 
Tyagayyar  had  his  training  under  Fiddle  Ponnuswami  (and  perhaps  his  father). 
A  delectable  composer  of  tana  varnas,  ragamalikas  and  kritis,  he  was  a 
specialist  in  talamalika  compositions  with  different  sections  in  different  talas 
particularly  in  pallavis.  'His  compositions  are  replete  with  raga  bhava  -  sangatis 
reflecting  the  diverse  facets  of  the  raga  -  presenting  its  melodic  personality...  He 
was  the  first  composer  in  the  annals  of  Carnatic  music  to  have  composed 
Ashtotra  group  kritis  and  only  Harikesanallur  Muthiah  Bhagavatar  had  later 
emulated  him.'  (Dr.  S.  Seetha)  He  had  used  Adita\a  for  102  kritis,  Rupaka  for 
five  and  Triputa  for  one,  but  108  ragas  without  repeating  any.  His  compositions 
are  full  of  technical  and  rhetorical  flourishes. 


His  varnams  include: 

Inthamodi  in  Saranga  raga 

Karunimpa  idi  in  Sahana  raga 

Chalamela  in  Durbar  raga 

Saraguna  in  Madyamavati  raga 

SarnLDayajuda  in  Kedaragoula  raga 

Published  two  works  - 

'Pallavi  Swarakalpavalli '  (1 900)  and 
'Sankirtana  Ratnavali  '(1 907). 

The  first  Contains  the  compositions  of  his  father  and  his  own. 


The  concert  was  on  before  a  packed  audience.  Suddenly  the  head  of  a  goose  fell  on 
the  stage.  The  manager  promptly  advanced  to  the  front  and  with  the  usual  courtesies 

6  Gentlemen,  if  anyone  among  you  has  lost  his  head  please  do  not  be  uneasy.  I 
shall  restore  it  at  the  conclusion  of  the  concert. ' 

—  Edmund  Fuller. 

Absolutely  professional. 


Gurukulavasa  yielded  to  training  schools  and  colleges  or  tuitions  under  chosen 
musical  masters.  Some  had/have  full  or  part-time  courses.  Correspondence  courses  with 
cassettes  and  notes  arrived.  Now  there  are  musical  lessons  on  phone!  Still  modern 
methods  of  leaching  lag  behind  the  old.  'Manasitdia  gumkulavasa'  (preceptors  of 
inspiration)  was  a  brilliant  concept  which  had  helped  many  to  rise  to  dizzy  heights  like  : 

Uthukadu  Venkatasubba  Ayyar  had  Lord  Krishna, 
Papanasam  Sivan  had  Konerirajapuram  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar; 
G.N.  Balasubramaniam  had  Ariyakudi  Ramanuja  Ayyangar. 
Vinjamuri  Varadaraja  Ayyangar  had  Tiger  Varadachariar  and 

Ariyakudi  Ramanuja  Ayyangar. 

Ekalavya  of  the  epics  adopted  the  unwilling  preceptor  Drona  himself  and  outshone 
his  chosen  student  Arjuna.  Dedication,  determination  won  him  the  skill. 

Here  is  a  view  of  Mannargudi  Sambasiva  Bhagavatar  of  the  Tyagabrahma  Sabha, 
Madras  on  correspondence  courses: 

*  A  home  science  student  added  up  everything  but  forgot  to  ignite  the  stove  since  it  was  not  in  the 



A.  V.  UNNIKRISHNAN  -  FLAUTIST:  (b.September  10, 1935) 

Place  of  birth  :          Pilicode  in  Kasargod  district. 

Parents  :          T.  Unnikrishnan  -  Thirumumpa.  Father  had  his  own 

kathakali  troupe.  His  children  are  all  trained  in  music  or 
in  bharatanatyam. 

Training  in  music        :          Gurukulavasam  under  T.K.Radhakrishnan  for  ten  years 

from  1 956. 

Unnikrishnan  started  giving  concerts  on  the  Ail  India  Radio  in  1964.  From 
1970  to  1989,  he  had  been  travelling  abroad  as  accompanist  to  bharatanatyam 
dancers  and  incidentally  giving  concerts  too.  Had  given  concerts  for  television 
networks  in  USA,  Canada  and  USSR.  Has  toured  Japan,  China,  Pakistan, 
South  Africa,  Europe,  Malaysia  and  Singapore,  besides  others.  The  tours  were 
either  privately  sponsored  or  arranged  by  the  ICCR. 

Title:  Sangeethajna 

Unnikrishnan  has  faith  in  music  as  a  successful  profession  notwithstanding 
competition  and  favouritism. 

P.  UNNIKRISHNAN  -  VOCALIST:  (b.July  9,1966) 

Parents  :        K.  Radhakrishnan  &  Harini  Radhakrishnan 

Musical  training  under  :        V.L.  Seshadri, 

Dr.  S.  Ramanathan  and 
Savitri  Satyamurti. 

Special  coaching  under:        T.Brinda  with  scholarship. 
General  qualification     :        B.Com.,  D.P.A. 

'Kesari  Kuteeram'  building  at  Royapettah  was  a  familiar  sight  for  long.  Music 
Academy  is  stated  to  have  functioned  in  it  as  a  fledgling.  Grandson  of  its  owner, 
Dr. K.N. Kesari,  Unnikrishnan  made  his  debut  at  Palghat  in  1980  for  the  Fine  Arts 
Society.  Has  a  pleasing,  resonant  voice,  natural  talents,  felicity,  flexibility  and 
imagination.  A  cricketeer,  Unnikrishnan  is  a  popular  artiste  who  brings  to  play 
in  concerts  a  variety  of  strokes  well-planned  and  executed  to  ensure 
comprehensive  audience  receptivity  and  appeal  -  a  formula  now  resorted  to  by 
rising  artistes  with  differing  shades  of  success.  Shanmukha  records,  'For  one 
so  young,  the  maturity  in  perception  and  presentation  is  something  rare  to  come 



Musical  training  under:          A.S.  Ananthagopalan  &  Padmavati  Anantagopalan, 

Having  had  her  training  from  her  sixth  year,  Usha  Rajagopalan  made  her 
debut  at  the  age  of  twelve  and  has  been  having  quite  a  large  number  of  concerts 
providing  accompaniment  to  distinguished  musicians.  A  Graduate  in 
Commerce,  Usha  Rajagopalan  is  a  Staff  Artiste  with  the  All  India  Radio,  Has 
won  awards  from  the  Music  Academy,  Madras,  etc.  A  complete  violinist. 

Concert  tours:  Middle  East  and  Singapore. 


Mridangam  maestro  Tanjore  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar's  house.  An  informal  select 
gathering.  On  request,  the  celebrated  Mazhavai  Subbarama  Bhagavatar  took  up  raga 
Malavi  for  elaboration  and  pallavi.  Exquisite  was  the  rendition.  He  adopted  a  rare  tala 
by  name  Lakshmeesa.  T.K.  Murti  who  provided  the  mridangam  support  and  who  was 
then  an  apprentice  under  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  faltered  and  stumbled  in  identifying  the  tala. 
A  hurt  guru  hit  him  for  lack  of  understanding. 

Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  was  not  only  guru  to  Murti  but  his  foster  father.  Murti  hit  back. 
How  ?  With  a  heartwarming  solo  (tani  avartd)  in  that  tala. 

—  B.M.  Sundaram  in  'Sruti' 
Vide  page  478  of  A  Garland  for  musicians  who  were  not  spared  of  the  rod. 


The  Pandit  was  stressing  the  peculiarity  of  Muthuswami  Dikshitar  inscribing  the 
ragamudra  in  each  song  so  that  the  raga  swaroopas  could  stand  fixed  unalterably  but  that 
Tyagaraja  did  not  adopt  that  mode  of  composition. 

Tygaraja  Rasika  (?)  :  He  too  has  done  it  in  Chani  Todi  Teve. 

The  song  is  in  Harikambhoji  and  the  word  'Todi'  does  not  refer  to  the  raga..  The  line 
actually  means  : 

'Oh  maid  of  my  mind  !  Go  and  bring  quick  my  Lord.' 

—  R.  Vedavalli  on  05-07-1992. 



VADIRAJA  -  DEVOTIONAL  POET:  (c.1480  -  1600) 

Called  Bhuvara,  born  at  Huvvinakere  in  South  Kanara,  of  Devaramabhatta 
and  Gowri,  Vadiraja  came  to  be  called  so  in  recognition  of  his  dialectical  talents. 
The  famed  ruler  Krishna  Deva  Raya  called  him  Prasangabharana  Tirtha.  While 
young,  he  came  under  the  grace  of  Swami  Vagisa  of  Swadi  Mutt.  Puranas  speak 
of  the  discord  between  young  Vigneswara  and  his  younger  brother  Kartikeya  all 
over  a  fruit,  in  which  the  intellectual  elder  deprived  the  younger  of  the  fruit  in 
spite  of  his  whirlwind  marathon.  The  fruit  thus  came  to  be  called  the  Fruit  of 
Wisdom  (Jnanapazham).  Issac  Newton  was  attracted  by  the  fall  of  an  apple. 
Even  Adam  and  Eve  could  not  resist  their  tasting  the  forbidden  fruit 
notwithstanding  the  prohibition!  But  young  Vadiraja  alone  remained  passive,  a 
monument  of  self-knowledge  and  self-control  when  Guru  Vagisa  asked  his 
disciples  to  help  themselves  with  fruits  heaped  before  them.  (Vadiraja  probably 
took  the  cue  from  the  Vigneswara  episode  but  excelled  Him  by  not  taking  any. 
Did  not  Maitreyi  tell  her  husband  Yajnavalkya  that  she  did  not  want  the  material 
wealth  he  offered  her  but  sought  for  the  imperishable?  When  Yajnavalkya 
brought  a  scene  of  Mithila  in  flames,  did  not  the  disciple-ruler  Janaka  alone  sit 
unconcerned  saying,  If  Mithila  goes,  I  have  no  concern5  to  illustrate  detachment! 
Their  reaction  is  similar,  it  will  be  seen.) 

When  questioned,  he  gave  his  reply  in  an  'ugabhoga'  context.  His  first 
composition  prior  to  renunciation  was  that  he  desired  devotion  to  his  guru,  the 
grace  of  God  and  renunciation.  He  succeeded  his  guru  and  was  benefited  by 
the  teachings  of  Vyasaraya  of  Vijayanagar. 

Prolific  in  his  writings  in  Sanskrit  and  kannada,  he  composed  thousands  of 
kirtanas  and  devaranamas  under  the  signature  'Hayavadana'.  His  songs  are 
sung  at  the  Mutts.  For  the  benefit  of  Tulu  speaking  people,  he  composed 
devaranamas  in  that  language  too.  Wrote  Rukminisa  Vijaya,  a  literary 

He  lived  in  Swadi  village  and  entered  Brindaban  samadi  alive.  Illustrious 
saints  of  Hinduism  have  dismantled  their  earthly  coils  so. 



Konerirajapuram  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  was  not  only  an  eminent  musician  but 
is  the  summum  bonum  of  many  a  proverb  like  'where  there  is  a  will  there  is  a 


way'  and  'verbum  sapient!  sat' (a  word  enough  for  a  wise  man)  A  Garland  details 
how  he  rose  up  to  the  top  taming  his  gruff  voice.  He  might  have  remained  an 
inglorious  voice-support  but  for  the  taunting  words  of  Panchapakesa  Sastri. 

His  period  was  still  within  the  bullock-cart  age  and  he  was  passing  through 
Pudupatti  (now  in  Pudukottai  district)  in  a  cart  (single  or  double,  bullocks  with  or 
without  horns,  it  is  not  stated).  His  breezy,  alapana-oriented,  durita-kala  mind 
was  ill  at  ease  with  the  tsouka-kala  slow  movement  of  the  vehicle  with  its  deaf 
driver.  How  long  could  a  stalwart  vocalist  remain  mute?  He  asked  a  pedestrian 
about  the  distance  and  there  was  no  response.  Ayyar  soliloquised,  'So,  you  are 
also  deaf!'  The  cart  was  just  a  furlong  further  off  when  a  peon  stopped  the  cart 
and  led  them  to  a  magistrate!  Innocent  Ayyar  could  not  fathom  the  reason  and 
politely  revealed  who  he  was.  As  if  shocked  by  electricity,  the  magistrate  was 
all  respect,  recollected  the  Vidwan's  concerts  with  Palani  Krishnier,  etc.,  and 
apologised.  The  pedestrian  was  the  magistrate  himself  and  had  felt  insulted  for 
having  been  questioned  like  a  commoner  on  the  road  and  dubbed  as  deaf.  The 
incident  is  mentioned  here  to  indicate  the  fame  and  renown  the  maestro  had 
enjoyed.  If  King  Udayanan  soothed  the  mad  elephant  with  his  play  on  yazh, 
Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  conquered  the  musical  world  with  his  chastised  and  tamed 
voice!  Rahmat  Khan,  a  North  Indian  maestro  once  said: 

"He  has  his  music  in  his  throat; 
We  have  it  on  our  thighs.' 

Strangely,  Ayyar  had  it  in  both  as  he  was  a  trail-blazer  in  laya-fortified  music 

Parents  :         Narayana  Ayyar  &  Sitalakshmi. 

Marriage  :         At  the  age  of  twelve. 

Extended  musical  Nagaswararn  Palanivelu,  Marudhanaliur  Kulandaiswami 

training  with  ;          and  Chinna  Kulandaiswami 

Melattur  Sundara  Bhagavatar  and 
Venkatarama  Bhagavatar. 

Disciples  :          Mudicondan  Venkatarama  Ayyar 

Budalur  Krishnamurti  Sastrigal, 
Coimbatore  Viswanathan,  etc. 

Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  was  a  vadama  (sub-sect)  but  was  the  chosen  hero  of 
vadyama  people.  He  evinced  special  solicitude  for  his  pupils,  purchased  the 
same  cloth  as  he  wore,  encouraged  them  to  sing  at  concerts  and  got  gifts  for 
them.  A  liberal,  he  was  noble  in  his  outlook  in  days  of  asserted  primacy  of 
vocalists  ws-a-  vis  accompanists.  He  would  even  wait  for  the  accompanists  to 
arrive  and  receive  them  with  cordiality  taking  his  role  to  be  just  a  primus  inter 
pares.  No  wonder  that  his  image  was  high  and  Papanasam  Sivan  chose  him  as 


Suiamangalam  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar  recalls  Ayyar's  rendition 
elaborating  the  phrase  'nigama  cirorttamu'm  'Sogasuga  mridanga  talamu'  (Sri 
Ranjani)  alone  for  an  hour  and  half  at  Sri  Ayyaval  Utsav,  Tiruvisanallur  bringing 
out  his  innovative,  intuitive  skills  with  riotous  brikas  and  graces.  He  mentions 
that  the  Melody-King  Pushpavanam  sat  spell-bound. 


Alakshana  vidwan  known  for  his  celebrated  rendition  of  kritis,  Vaidyanatha 
Ayyar  was  a  close  friend  of  the  illustrious  composer  of  the  revolutionary 
socio-religious  opera  in  tamil  Nandanar.  He  freely  used  Bharati's  songs  which 
were  popular  at  his  concerts.  Suiamangalam  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar  states 
that  the  Veena  artiste  and  Tirukodikaval  Krishna  Ayyar  would  play  in  perfect 
unison  delightfully,  that  he  would  present  veena  duet  with  Tiruvalangadu 
Tyagaraja  Dikshitar,  that  he  would  sing  while  playing  on  veena  and  that  his  son 
Veena  Sabhesan  too  was  an  accomplished  player  on  veena.  T.C.A.  Chinna 
Singaracharyulu  wrote  in  1905: 

'Mayuram  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  is  a  good  lutanist,  an  able  pallavi  singer,  a 
good  vocalist  and  an  able  master  of  gesticulations.  It  is  difficult  to  see  in  future 
another  of  his  ability  His  son  plays  on  lute  delightfully  and  has  extraordinary 
skill  in  swaras.' 

J.  VAIDYANATHAN  -  MRIDANGIST:  (b.April  22, 1965) 

Son  of  Sangita  Kalanidhi  O.K.  Jayaraman,  Vaidyanathan  had  his  training 
under  Palghat  Mani  Ayyar  and  his  son  T.R.  Rajamani,  Palghat  Kunjumani, 
Dindigul  Ramamurti  and  Tanjore  Ramadoss.  Had  specialised  training  under 
Dr.  T.K.  Murthy.  He  had  pursued  his  training  with  scholarships  from  the 
Government  of  India.  Has  been  having  good  practice  and  'his  play  of  chapu 
sequences  turn  well  and  pharns  (fast  patterns)  have  excellent  clarity5. 

Concert  tours:  U.S.A. ,  USSR. 

Title;  Yuva  Kala  Bharati  by  Bharat  Kalachar  1 991 . 

O.S.  VAIDYANATHAN  (ARUN)  -  VOCALIST:  (20th  cent.) 

Born  in  a  musical  family,  O.S. Vaidyanathan  popularly  known  as  Arun  sings 
with  a  natural  flair.  Has  an  impressive  tone,  range  and  balance  of  voice.  Had 
his  initial  training  under  his  father,  Sangeetha  Bhushanam  O.V.Subramaniam 
and  then  completed  Visharad  Purna',  an  integrated  course  in  music  at  the 
Gandharva  Mahavidyalaya,  Delhi.  He  stood  first  in  the  diploma  course 


'Sangeetha  Shiromani'  of  the  Delhi  University. 

'Oh  Yes'  has  been  giving  concerts  on  All  India  Radio,  Doordarshan,  sabhas, 
etc.  Arun's  musical  talents  are  extensive  and  varied.  He  has  been  presenting 
choral  compositions  like  his  own  'Rain' (Misra  Kapiand  Pantuvarali*)  and  pieces 

of  well-know n  composers  like  Balamurali  Krishna  and  Lalgudi  Jayaraman. 


Concert  tours: 

Europe,  Middle  East,          USSR,  Australia, 

China,  Hong  Kong,  Fiji,  North  Korea, 

U.K.,  Mauritius  and        Afghanistan. 

America  and  Africa  probably  are  waiting  to  hear  his  impressive  music! 

*      *      * 
VAIYAPURI  DEVAR  -  MRI DANG  1ST:  (b.1916) 

Father :  Kandaswami  Devar,  Chidambaram 

Vaiyapuri  Devar  migrated  to  Mysore  and  had  been  accompanying  prominent 
musicians.  The  Maharajah  of  Mysore  honoured  him  in  1962  and  he  is  the 
recipient  of  the  title  'Mridanga  Nada  Praveena'  from  the  Tirumalai  Tirupati 
Devasthanams.  Venkatesa  Devar  was  his  guru. 



'A  Garland' carries  at  pages  399-400  the  biography  of  Tiger  Varadachariar, 
one  of  the  finest  of  musical  souls  of  Carnatic  music.  The  magnificence  of  his 
musical  scholarship  and  the  panorama  of  his  multi-dimensional  life  cry  for  some 
more  details  being  recorded. 

y  Mysore  Vasudevacharya  recorded  of  Varadachariar: 

1  The  most  celebrated  master  of  bhava-bharita  sangeetham,  enjoyed  profound  scholar- 
ship, child-like  innocence,  purity  of  heart  and  simple  and  elegant  manners.' 

Veena  Balachander  wrote  six  stanzas  on  Tiger  and  one  is  extracted  below: 

1  He  who  commanded  the  respect  of  one  and  all 
Was  a  giant  in  size  but  a  soft  child  at  heart. 
While  many  other  musicians  might  rise  or  fall, 
His  glory,  for  eternity,  will  ever  remain  apart.' 

In  the  photo  at  page  LXX  of  'A  Garland ',  the  Tiger  is  seated  at  the  centre  in 
the  first  row.  It  was  taken  during  the  annual  celebrations  of  Sri  Krishna  Bhajana 
Mandiram  run  by  Mandhai  Saa.  Krishna  Ayyar,  the  author's  uncle.  It  shows  the 


stature  of  Varadaehariar  among  musicians.  S.Y.Krishnaswami  paid  his  tribute  to 
the  maestro  in  'Swatantra' thus: 

1  His  approach  was  romantic.  Unending  search  for  newer  and  yet  newer  forms  for 
variations  was  his  forte  -  not  the  chiselled  patterns  of  set  beauty.' 

The  observations  are  all  true  to  facts.  He  did  not  enjoy  a  beautiful  personality; 
his  voice  was  not  melodious.  But  his  vidwat  was  colossal  and  his  rank  among 
musicians  was  that  of  Abu  Ben  Adam.  His  presence  added  charm  and  dignity  to 
the  assembly.  Yet  he  was  not  -  never  -  rich  and  he  bore  with  smile  the  grinds  of 
poverty  till  Rukmini  Devi  of  Kalakshetra  stepped  in  to  patronise  him  and  his  end 
is  described  by  James  H. Cousins  in  a  letter  to  Rukmini  Devi  thus: 

'  At  2  p.m.,  he  fell  ill  and  told  his  attendant  that  he  had  his  "Celestial  Call".  He  asked 
him  to  be  sung  to. ..There  was  bhajan  till  the  flames  ungulfed  the  mortal  remains 
of  the  Gayaka  Vyagra  (Musical  Tiger).' 

The  carnivorous  feline  quadruped  is  noted  for  its  ferocity  and  rapacity.  The 
musical  tiger  was  a  gentleman  non  pare/7  of  Cardinal  Newman's  description  full 
of  grace,  warmth,  solicitude  and  musical  eminence.  The  innate  joviality  of  his 
throbbing  human  heart  was  infectious. The  utter  nobility  of  the  genial  soul  rarely 
betrayed  the  pangs  of  economic  hardships.  Elsewhere  mention  has  been  made 
of  the  surprise  of  the  Tamil  savant  Meenakshisundaram  Pillai  when  he  had  the 
luxury  of  being  served  with  a  spoonful  of  ghee  in  a  frugal  vegetarian  fare  in  a 
mutt  They  are  the  immortals  whom  the  golden  pages  of  history  rich  with  the 
aroma  of  their  legacy  could  ill-afford  to  omit  as  they  constitute  the  foundation 
and  the  corner-stone,  the  flower  and  fragrance  of  Indian  culture  and  civilisation. 
It  is  difficult  to  spot  out  such  a  genial  man  full  of  musicianship  and  human 
grandeur  among  the  present. 

1940  Tiruvaiyaru  Aradhana  Festival.  Tiger  and  his  disciples  from  Annamalai 
-  University  stayed  in  a  room  and  officials  occupied  the  opposite  room.  Tiger  slept 
in  the  corridor,  his  'snoring  surpassing  recognised  sruti  and  gamaka  variations'. 
A  Parsi  Engineer,  while  passing  him,  remarked  to  his  friend: 

I  Is  this  the  fellow  you  call  Tiger? 
He  makes  all  sorts  of  funny  noise  ! 

A  voice  responded: 

II  Yes,  yes.  This  fellow  is  the  Tiger. 

He  can  improvise  many  more  noises  too!" 

The  Parsi  had  not  heard  of  musicians  speaking  english  and  before  he  could 
collect  himself,  Tiger  had  started  ex  tempore  on  a  scintillating  elaboration  in  raga 
Begada  to  his  further  discomfiture. 


Gandhi  cap  was  the  universal  fashion  of  those  days  being  a  symbol  of 
patriotism  and  Tiger  had  a  natural  fascination  for  it.  Jocularly  he  would  say, 
'Before  you  are  capped  by  others,  better  do  it  yourself5.  But  the  cap  ill-suited  his 
figure  and  gave  a  grotesque  shape  reminding  friends  and  admirers  of  the 
Panchatantra  story  of  the  cap  merchant  and  the  monkeys.  But  Tiger  was  not 
willing  to  improve  his  personality  at  the  cost  of  the  cap.  Ultimately  when 
Vasudevachar  came  and  Tiger  wanted  him  to  sing  a  particular  song,  the  Mysore 
Veteran  agreed  subject  to  an  unspecified  gift.  Tiger  agreed  to  it  little  suspecting 
that  Vasudeva  would  snatch  away  his  cap  in  a  quid  pro  quo  for  that  single  song. 

'Even  an  elephant  is  apt  to  take  a  false  step',  runs  the  proverb.  There  is  no 
such  pithy  saying  vis  a  vis  the  Tiger.  He  was  singing  Birana  Valalichi  (Kalyani) 
of  Syama  Sastri.  The  percussionist  had  to  align  the  sruti  of  his  mridangam. 
When  Tiger  restarted,  he  inadvertently  had  jumped  to  Birana  Brova  ite.  Startled, 
he  whispered  to  his  disciple,  Vasu,  the  train  stands  derailed'.  He  stopped  it 
there  at  once,  says  T.  Sankaran. 

The  musical  Kamadenu  bore  a  misleading  sobriquet  and  dished  out  soulful 
music,  spread  musical  knowledge  and  extended  exuberant  conviviality.  He  was 
a  great  man  and  a  great  musician.  In  fact  all  the  three  brothers  -  Tiger,  Veenai 
Krishnamachariar  and  Srinivasa  Ayyangar  were  all  filtered  eminent  men  of 
culture  and  music. 


(July  1 5,  1 91 5  -  August  1 6,  1 991 ) 

Music  wooed  Patriotism  and  both  echoed  in  unison  in  the  family.  Large  was 
the  family  and  total  was  its  participation  in  the  Independence  Movement 
including  jail  terms.  Musicians  frequented  their  home  which  bubbled  with  musical 
activity  like  the  houses  of  O.K.  Pattammal,  S.  Rajam-S.  Balachander  and 
T.  Lakshmana  Pillai.  Advocate  V.  Srinivasachari  was  a  flautist;  V.  Ananthachary 
took  to  veena  and  played  Bhagavad  Gita  to  Gandhiji  at  the  Wardha  Ashram 
daily.  Some  took  to  violin.  Vinjamuri  Varadaraja  lyengar,  the  last  of  the  thirteen 
children  of  V.  Bhuvanachariar  and  Kanakavalli  was  a  vocalist.  He  was  born  at 

Varadaraja  lyengar,  a  Bachelor  of  Arts  of  the  Andhra  University,  had  his  initial 
training  in  music  during  1920-1933  under  Shankara  Sastri,  a  disciple  of 
Tiruvottiyur  Tyagayyar,  a  stalwart  musician-composer  and  grand-disciple  of 
Tyagaraja.  lyengar  had  his  advanced  training  from  Tiger  Varadachariar  from 
1934  and  moved  with  him  to  Chidambaram  after  taking  a  diploma  in  music  from 
the  Madras  University.  Like  G.N.B.,  he  had  Ariyakudi  Ramanuja  Ayyangar  as 


Made  his  debut  at  the  age  of  seven  at  Guntur  before  the  celebrated  Veena 
Seshanna.  Known  for  his  delectable  swara  exposition  and  tana,  he  had  also 
imbibed  the  innovative  fresh  approach  of  the  guru,  the  Tiger.  Well-versed  in 
many  languages,  his  sahitya  pronunciation  exuded  clarity.  A  firm  believer  in 
classical  traditions,  he  was  widely  respected.  Had  given  performances  all  over 
India  and  abroad,  at  palaces  and  in  sabhas.  In  rendition  of  songs  and  alapana 
in  rag^  Tod/1/ he  was  in  the  distinguished  company  of  Todi  Sitaramayyar,  Todi 
Kotiswara  Ayyar  and  Todi  T.N.  Rajarathinam.  His  guru  Shankara  Sastri  has 
extolled  his  talents  and  expertise  in  special  poems  composed  by  him.  When 
Pushpavanam  did  not  arrive  Ariyakudi  steppech'n  to  give  the  concert  to  shine 
forth  for  decades  as  the  top  musician.  Likewise  G.N.  Balasubramaniam  acted 
as  stepney  and  rose  to  the  top.  When  Ariyakudi  could  not  give  the  concert,  he 
himself  asked  Varadaraja  lyengar  in  1935  at  the  Rasika  Ranjani  Sabha  to  take 
his  place,  with  Rajamanickam  Pillai  on  violin  and  Pudukkottai  Dakshinamurti 
Pillai  on  mridangam.  That  was  the  measure  of  his  confidence  in  the  musicianship 
of  Varadaraja  lyengar.  For  one  of  his  concerts,  Chowdiah  did  not  arrive. 
Varadaraja  lyengar  took  Flute  Maestro  T.R.  Mahalingam  to  play  on  violin  with 
Palani  Subbudu  to  assist  on  mridangam.  It  was  a  concert  by  titans.  Known  for 
his  weighty  classicism  and  traditional  approach,  he  was  popular.  His  repertoire 
was  vast.  Stalwart  violinists  and  percusfsionists  have  provided  accompaniment 
to  him.  His  respect  for  his  preceptors  was  so  high  that  he  withdrew  his  recordings 
of  O!  Jagadamba  (Anandabhairavi)  and  Sri  Subramanyaya  (Kambhoji)  in 
deference  to  the  views  of  Tiger.  Dr.  Vinjamuri  Varadaraja  lyengar  Memorial 
Society,  Hyderabad  now  seeks  to  propagate  the  ideals  of  lyengar. 

Posts  held: 


Founder-Principal  of  the  College  of  Carnatic  Music,  Hyderabad         1 952-1953 
Producer  of  Music,  All  India  Radio,  Hyderabad  1 956-1964 

First  General  Secretary,  Sri  Tyagaraja  Sangeetha  Vidwat  Samajam,  Mylapore, 

Madras  1 946  onwards. 

He  was  connected  in  various  capacities  with  Tyagaraja  Samajam,  Nellore, 
Ganakala  Parishat,  Rajahmundry,  Tyagaraja  Brahmotsava  Sabha,  Tiruvaiyaru, 
State  Sangita  Nataka  Academy  and  a  host  of  others.  He  introduced  on  the  All 
India  Radio  programmes  like  Bhaktiranjani,  Sangita  Sikshana,  Vadya  Brinda, 

Concert  tours  abroad  :         Malaysia,  Singapore,  Sri  Lanka  and  U.S.A.  (thrice) 

Compositions  ;         Tana  varnas,  kritis,  tillanas  and  a  javali.  Has  given  lec- 

tures and  demonstrations  as  a  musicologist 

Disc  recordings          ;         Gave  two  initially.  As  his  mentor,  the  'Tiger'  was  against 

discs,  he  cancelled  the  recordings  and  desisted  in 
deference  to  his  opinion 

Honours  and  Titles: 

Gold  Medal  From  Music  Academy,  Madras         1 936 


Gana  Vidya  Visarada  1 938 

Gayakaratna  1 941 

Gana  Kalanidhi  1950 

Gayaka  Sarvabhouma  1 956 

Sangita  Jyoti  1 961 

Horsy  Doctorate  From  Columbia  University                1 964 

Gana  Kaia  Prapurna  From  A.  P.  Sangeet  Academy            1 971 

Gana  Lahari  1 981 

Sangita  Ratnakara  -                                          1 982 

Gana  Vidya  Parangatha  From  H.H.  Pushpagiri  Swamy 

The  multi-faceted  artiste  had  to  withdraw  from  giving  concerts  when  his  voice 
was  affected  by  an  accident  in  1 962.  He  had  trained  many  and  was  an  authority 
in  pallavi  singing.  Adevout  soul,  a  day  prior  to  his  demise,  he  called  his  grandson 
and  disciple  to  sing  specially  for  him  'Sri  Raghukula  Mandu'  (Hamsadwani)  as  if 
he  felt  a  call  from  the  Infinite! 

VEEN  A  VARADAYYA  -  VEENA  ARTISTE:  (1 877  - 1 952) 

Place  of  birth  :          Cheyyaru,  Madurantakam  taluk. 

Parentage  :          Veena  Raghavayya  -  Father 

Veena  Vij'aya  Varadayya  -  Grandfather. 

Vijaya  Varadayya  had  composed  (preliminary)  practice  songs  and  swara 
methods.  Veena  Ramanujayya  and  Veena  Ethirajayya  were  ancestors. 
Varadayya,  after  the  demise  of  his  father  in  1 888  or  so,  went  over  to  the  pilgrim 
centre  Thiruvadigai  and  acquired  musical  skill  and  knowledge  by  associating 
himself  with  Chidambaram  Krishna  Ayyar,  Tacchur  Singaracharyulu  and 
Coimbatore  Raghavayya  -  all  celebrities.  He  learnt  Sanskrit  and  telugu  and  took 
interest  in  Dikshitar  kritis.  He  established  contacts  with  religious  and  political . 
leaders.  Composed  the  varnam  Imthichekka  Tanamu  (Ananda  Bhairavi  -  Adi) 
when  requested  to  do  so  on  the  spot  at  Gadwal  (Hyderabad). 

He  was  quite  appropriately  the  first  veena  teacher  in  the  Music  College  of 
the  Annamalai  University.  His  disciples  include  his  sons  R.V.  Raghavan  and 
Prof.  R.V.  Krishnan  and  Cuddalore  Srinivasa  Ayyangar. 

Varadayya  had  composed  about  twenty  varnams  and  fifty  kritis  under  the 
signature  'Adhikapura  Vasa'  after  the  name  of  the  presiding  deity  of  Tiruvadigai. 
His  father  Vijaya  Varadayya's  compositions  include  the  Sapta  Tala  Alankaradhi 
Swara  Sahityam  'Hah  Charanamula'.  Included  in  Balar  Isai  Malar  of  the  Music 
Academy.  The  artistes  are  descendants  of  Bobbili  Kesavayya  and  have  been 
popular  artistes. 


VARAHAPPA  DIKSHIT  PANDIT  -  MUSICIAN  :  (1795  -  1869) 

Father  &  Guru  :          Rarnaswamayya,  Vina  Vidwan  &  Tanjore  Court  official. 

post  held  :          Commander-in-Chief  of  the  Tanjore  Native  Regiment 

under  Sarabhoji  II  and  Shivaji  II 
Was  associated  with  the  Library  and  was  in  charge  of 

He  learnt  vina  and  piano,  mastered  english,  Western  music  and  violin  play 
too  Varahappa  was  called  'Darbar  Pakshi1.  There  is  a  choultry  in  his  name  to 
feed  children  and  travellers  on  the  northern  bank  of  River  Vadavar  at  Tanjore. 
Dr.  S.  Seetha  says  that  eminent  vainikas  like  Tsallagali  Viraraghavayya, 
Tsallagali  Gopalayya  and  Dasavadyam  Krishnayya  belonged  to  his  family.  His 
disciples  included  Sri  Ramayya  Dikshit,  Parameswara  Bhagavatar,  Lakshmana 
Gosayee  and  Parameshwara  Gosayee.  The  hands  that  wielded  the  gun 
handled  books  and  musical  instruments  also  and  Pandit  was 
Commander-in-Chief  for  the  regulars  and  the  artistes  too! 

*  *     * 


Fatner ;  Mysore  Srinivasa  Varadachariar. 

Varahaswami  started  on  his  musical  training  in  his  fifteenth  year  and  made 
his  debut  in  1957  at  Bangalore.  He  was  a  very  prominent  gottuvadyam  vidwan 
in  Karnataka  like  Budalur  Krishnamurti  Sastri  in  Tamil  Nadu.  Was  having  wide 
practice.  He  taught  gottuvadyam  through  the  All  India  Radio  too  in  1 942  ! 

*  *     * 


(May  28, 1865 -May  17,  1961) 

'A  Garland'  carries  at  pages  403-404  biographical  particulars  of 
Vasudevacharya.  Great  men  sometimes  indulge  in  absurdities  probably  in 
moments  they  discard  the  shackles  of  constraint  and  decorum  driven  by  an 
oppressive  feeling  of  having  to  submit  to  life-long  self-discipline.  It  is  a  passing 
backlash  or  phase  from  maturity  to  immaturity,  from  adult  to  childhood.  In  the 
biography  of  Bidaram  Krishnappa,  mention  has  been  made  of  the  failure  of 
Krishnappa  and  Vasudevacharya  to  admit  before  their  patron  Maharajah  of 
Mysore  of  their  ignorance  of  the  song  'Mahishasuramardini'  (Narayani)  and  how 
the  shrewd  ruler  exposed  it  with  grace.  After  his  scintillating  concert  at 
Coimbatore,  in  a  strange  quirk  of  mischief,  Seshanna  told  the  audience  that 
Vasudeva  was  a  great  vidwan  who  sang  admirably.  Failing  to  catch  the  joke 
behind  the  remark,  Vasudevacharya  started  singing  and  brought  copious  ridicule 
on  his  head  and  was  forced  to  wind  up  too.  That  was  a  watershed  in  his  life. 


1 1  hung  down  my  head  in  shame.  Seshanna  was  bubbling  with  laughter.  !  felt  hot, and 
angry.  I  decided  to  switch  over  from  sangeetha  to  sahitya  to  establish  myself  as  a 
sahitya  vidwan  at  least  Extempore  I  composed  a  Sanskrit  verse  and  recited  it.  Some 
spoke  words  of  encouragement.  The  host  honoured  me.  Seshanna  stared  at  me!  'It 
did  not  stop  at  that.  Later  arguments  and  counter-arguments  developed  between  us  on 
meeting  my  travel  expenses.  Under  a  sacred  aswatha  tree  on  roadside,  we  quarrelled 
and  a  crowd  gathered. ' 

What  happened  is  narrated  by  Vasudeva  thus; 

11  Finally  an  elderly  person  settled  it  that  Seshanna  was  to  bear  the  charges  one  way. 
The  earlier  ridicule  hurt  me  deeply.  I  requested  Seshanna  to  accept  me  as  a  disciple. 

1  You  and  music  are  poles  apart. 
You  are  fond  of  eating.  Eat  nicely  and  feel  contented.  ' 

Finally  he  yielded  subject  to  a  bet.  Seshanna  was  travelling  in  the  second 
class  and  I  by  the  third.  At  each  stop,  I  should  go  to  him,  learn  a  few  avartana 
of  'Chalamelara'  Sankarabharana  -  Ata  tala  varna  and  go  back  to  my  carriage 
to  memorise.  At  Bangalore  Station  I  sang  the  whole  piece  without  blemish. 
Seshanna  broke  down. 

'Acharya,  I  apologise  to  you.  Forgive  me.  I  had  the  conceit  to  think  that  I 
alone  could  master  a  varna  in  a  day.  Believe  me  honestly,  when  my  days  are 
over,  my  place  shall  be  yours!11 

Mischief,  ridicule  and  quarrel  gave  place  to  ecstatic  affability  between  (Adi) 
Sesha  and  Vasudeva! 

Vasudevacharya's  description  of  his  gurukulavasa  with  Patnam  Subramania 
Ayyar  is  highly  revealing.  Here  it  is  : 

1  The  guru  had  two  sishyas,  Parameswariah  and  Kempegowda.  My  share  of  the  duties 
was  to  wash  Guruji's  and  his  wife's  clothes  in  the  river,  to  wash  the  copper  pots  and 
store  drinking  water  in  them,  to  wash  the  pooja  utensils,  to  make  the  bed  for  guruji  and 
press  his  feet  till  he  fell  asleep.  By  nature  I  was  lazy  but  became  used  to  the  chores. 
Occasionally  I  had  to  go  with  Kempegowda  to  take  cattle  for  grazing.  Guruji  had  not 
commenced  teaching  me  though  some  months  had  gone  by.  I  was  to  get  up  and 
provide  tambura  sruti  for  his  sadhaka,  to  listen  attentively  when  he  taught  Parames- 
wariah, to  be  with  Guruji  when  he  was  composing  and  go  with  him  for  concerts.' 

One  day,  Guruji  said,  Vasu,  don't  think  I  am  not  aware  of  your  desire  to  learn.  Do  not 
feel  that  you  have  spent  all  your  time  in  vain.  The  benefit  of  careful  and  constant  listening 
can  hardly  be  exaggerated.' 

Thus  satisfying  Vasu  of  his  intentions,  he  clarified: 

'I  have  now  taken  you  round  the  corridors  of  the  temple  (of  music).  All  that 
remains  to  be  done  is  to  take  you  to  the  sanctum  sanctorum  and  show  you  the 
moola  vigraha.  That  I  will  do  tomorrow!'  (That  was  gurukulavasa!) 


It  was  a  rain  of  nector  on  a  hillock  of  sugar  to  young  Vasu!  Here  is  a  parallel 
from  Yehudi  Menuhin  giving  an  account  of  .his  violin  master  Georges  Enesco: 

11 A  lesson  was  an  inspiration,  not  a  stage  reached  in  the  course  of  instruction. 
It  was  the  making  of  music.  What  I  received  from  him  was  the  note  transformed 
into  vital  message,  the  phrase  given  shape  and  meaning,  the  structure  of  music 
made  vivid." 


Born  at  Neyyatinkara  near  Travancore,  Vasudevan  obtained  the  diplomas 
'Ganabhushanam'  and  'Sangita  Vidwan'  from  Swati  Tirunal  Music  Academy  and 
has  been  honoured  with  the  President's  and  other  medals.  In  1 970,  he  took  up 
specialised  training  under  Ramnad  Krishnan. 

During  1964-1974,  he  was  Assistant  Professor,  RLV  Music  Academy, 
Tirupunithura  and  joined  the  All  India  Radio  as  Staff  Artiste  in  1974.  Has  been 
giving  performances  in  sabhas  and  elsewhere. 

R.  VEDAVALLI  -  VOCALIST  &  PEDAGOGUE:  (b.November  9, 1935) 

The  vocalist-pedagogue  R.  Vedavalli  is  a  picture  of  guru-bhakti  and  she 
struggles  to  get  at  many  more  superlatives  to  describe  the  merits,  expertise  and 
eminence  of  her  gurus,  Sangita  Kalanidhis  Srirangam  Ayyangar  of  Madura 
Brothers  and  Mudicondan  Venkatarama  Ayyar.  She  claims  that  she  was  highly 
fortunate  in  getting  these  stalwarts  as  her  masters.  On  the  demise  of  brother 
Srinivasa  Ayyangar,  Srirangam  Ayyangar  gave  up  concerts  and  settled  at 
Mannargudi  to  give  tuitions  only.  'He  would  come  in  his  self-driven  single  bullock 
cart.  On  hearing  me  sing  during  his  tuitions  in  a  nearby  house,  he  took  me  as  a 
disciple.  Certainly  he  did  it  not  for  money.  He  was  a  great  man  and  he  took  a 
liking  for  me,  then  aged  seven  years  only  and  for  my  voice.  He  went  to  the  extent 
of  purchasing  a  harmonium  for  me  and  started  his  lessons  on  an  auspicious  day. 
When  I  think  of  him,  I  feel  spiritual  exhilaration.  He  would  not  like  the  lessons  to 
be  reduced  to  writing.  All  was  oral.'  This  is  her  account  of  the  first  stage  (upto 
varnam)  of  her  training. 

As  her  father  Ramaswamy  Ayyangar  was  transferred  to  Madras,  she  took 
her  tuitions  for  a  short  while  under  one  Naganatha  Ayyar.  Then  commenced 
during  1 949-50  an  enduring  glorious  study  under  Sangita  Kalanidhi  Mudicondan 
Venkatarama  Ayyar,  who  just  then  went  over  to  Madras  to  join  as  the  Vice 
Principal  of  the  Music  College  run  by  the  Music  Academy.  Vedavalli  joined  the 
one  year  diploma  course.  She  used  to  go  to  VenKatarama  Ayyar's  residence  also 
regularly  for  training.  She  continued  it  with  a  scholarship  she  got.  From  9  a.m. 


to  8  p.m.,  she  would  be  with  him,  follow  him  to  concerts  and  even  assist  him  in 
classes.  It  was  gurukulavasa  in  content  and  effect.  He  would  present  her  with 
knotty  problems  along  with  lessons  and  instructions  like 

Viralil  ponal,  Rural  pogum. ' 

(If  you  concentrate  on  beats,  melody  will  be  lost) 

'Sangeetham  first;  sahitya  next.' 
(Melody  first,  lyrics  next) 

Kathiri  chedi  kattai  thattuvadu  pol 

(Like  the  development  of  stumps  in  brinjal  plant, 
stagnation  should  not  develop  in  music.) 

'Follow  my  advice  and  not  my  practice.' 

Both  her  gurus  were  laya  experts  and  pallavi  specialists.  Venkatarama 
Ayyar  was  an  Ocean  of  Musical  Wisdom  ',  says  she. 

Vedavalli  was  born  at  Rajamannargudi.  With  her  rich  training,  she  joined  the 
teaching  staff  of  the  Music  College  of  the  Music  Academy  in  1968  vice 
Jayamma.  After  thirteen  years,  she  joined  the  Central  College  of  Carnatic 
Music,  Madras  and  continues. 

Among  her  disciples,  she  mentions  Ramani.  AIRVainika,  Abhiramasundari 
and  Catherine,  a  dedicated  and  successful  French  student.  She  was  Preceptor 
under  the  Government  of  India  Scheme  for  Scholarships.  She  states  that 
alankaram  in  upper  octave  and  swarajati  were  not  taught  in  yester  decades  and 
that  gamakas  were  imbibed  by  following  the  guru.  A  successful  teacher  with 
mature  scholarship,  Vedavalli  combines  dignified  rendition  with  emotive  music, 

Honours  and  Titles: 

Certificate  of  Merit  &  T.T.K.  Award  from  the  Music  Academy,  Madras. 
Sangita  Choodamani  from  Sri  Krishna  Gana  Sabha  (1 985) 

Gana  Kala  Bharati  from  Narada  Gana  Sabha,  Karur  (1 992) 


(191 4 -April  16,1989) 

A  distinguished  percussionist,  he  was  Lecturer  for  Mridangam  in  Bangalore 
University.  He  was  honoured  with  the  Karnataka  Sangeeta  Nritya  Academy 
Award  and  the  title  of  Gana  Kala  Bhushan  by  the  Karnataka  Gana  Parishat. 


K.  VEERAMANI  -  DEVOTIONAL  MUSIC  ARTISTE:  (August  13,  1936  - 1990) 

Born  at         /  Madras, 

of  M.K.  Krishnakunjaram  Ayyar  and  Bhagirati  Ammal. 

Veeramani  hailed  from  a  highly  distinguished  family  of  eminent  tamil 
scholar-composers  like  Kavikunjara  Bharati  and  Kotiswara  Ayyar  (both 
covered  in  SA  Garland}.  Had  his  musical  training  under  uncle  Nagamani, 
Chernbai  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar,  Sirkazhi  Sadasivam  Pillai,  Madurai 
G.S.Mani,  etc.  For  devotional  songs,  he  was  the  most  sought-after  musician 
and  enjoyed  dedication  and  expertise.  The  large  number  of  his  disc  recordings, 
with  prominent  lady-artistes  and  without,  are  very  popular.  Has  been  a  playback 
singer  for  films.  Raji  and  Krishna,  his  sons  continue  the  tradition. 

Titles  and  Honours: 

Gandharva  Gana  Jothi  by  Srila  Sri  Santhananda  Swamigal. 
Arulisai  Mamani  by  Navasakti  Vinayakar  Trust,  Mylapore 
Sabari  Thenisai  Mamani  by  lyyappa  Bhakta  Sabha,  Salem-ldaipadi. 
Karumari  Gana  Thendral  by  Madras  Prabath  Cultural  Academy 
Kaiaimamani  by  Tamil  Nadu  Eyal  isai  Nataka  Mandram  in  1982. 


(20th  Century  Early  part) 

Veerasami  was  at  Kumbakonam  and  was  known  for  his  honeyed  melody  and 
delectable  rendition.  Sulamangalam  Vaidyanatha  Bhagavatar  wrote  in  Ka//olong 
back  that  dead  wood  would  spring  back  to  life  if  Veerasami  played,  that  he  was 
able  to  bring  enchanting  melody  and  that  he  was  very  popular.  Srivanjiam 
Govindan  provided  percussion  support  on  tavil  to  him, 

Pandanallur  has  presented  many  renowned  dancers  and  dance-masters. 

T.S.  VEMBU  AYYAR  -  VOCALIST:  (b.  April  21,  1916) 

Place  of  birth  :        Tiruvalangadu,  Tanjore  district. The  village  has  a  good 

musical  past 

Parents  ;         Sankaranarayana  Vajpeyar  &  Nagalakshmi  Ammal. 

Musical  training  under :         Tiruvalangadu  Sundaresa  Ayyar,  an  eminent  violinist 

Umayalpuram  Swaminatha  Ayyar,  a  Sangita  Kalanidhi. 
Turaiyur  Rajagopala  Sarma  and 
Madurai  Mani  Ayyar,  a  Sangita  Kalanidhi 
(1939  onwards). 

Debut  :        April  1 945  at  Mayavaram  with  his  guru  Sundaresa  Ayyar 

on  violin  and  Kuttalam  Sivavadivel  Pillai  on  mridangam. 


From  1940  to  1969,  he  was  providing  voice  support  to  his  guru  and  relative, 
Madurai  Mani  Ayyar  and  later  was  giving  concerts  on  the  All  India  Radio  and 
sabhas.  Since  1986,  he  has  stopped  giving  concerts.  T.V.  Sankaranarayanan, 
the  popular  vocalist  now,  is  his  son.  Vembu  Ayyar  is  literally  a  link  between  Mani 
Ayyar,  the  colossus  and  Sankaranarayanan,  the  maestro-in-the-making. 


Kavirayar  had  composed  the  Tiruchendur  Sthala  Puranam  in  899  verses. 
When  Vadamalaiyappa  Pillayan,  a  chief  under  Tirumalai  Nayakar  recovered  the 
icon  of  Muruga  from  the  sea,  Venrirnalai  Kavirayar  composed  a  song  in  raga 
Madhyamavati  starting  with  the  lines,  'Eppodhu  Devareer  Ezhundaruliyadhu...' 
giving  the  date  of  restoration  as  1654  A.D.  (When  the  idol  of  Rama  was  lost, 
Tyagaraja  is  reputed  to  have  sung  the  piece  Nenendu  Vetukutura  - 
Harikambhoji,  meaning  O!  Hari,  where  can  I  search  for  you?  Tyagaraja's  is 
before  the  recovery  of  the  idol  while  Kavirayar's  relates  to  post-recovery.) 


Born  in  a  family  of  musicians,  Venkataraju  had  his  training  in  percussion 
under  his  father  Pedda  Ramaswamy  and  Kakinada  Muramalla  Gopalaswamy. 
His  grandfather  Venkayee  was  also  a  mridangist.  Started  accompanying 
Dwaram  Venkataswamy  Naidu  and  taught  mridangam  at  the  Music  College, 
Vizianagaram  for  eleven  years.  He  was  on  the  Audition  Board,  All  India  Radio. 

Honours  and  Titles: 

Award  From  Andhra  Pradesh  Sangita  Nataka  Academy 

Certificate  of  Merit  From  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  in  1 975 

Award  From  the  Sangit  Natak  Akademy,  Delhi  in  1 979 

Sapthagiri  Sangita 

Vidwan  Mani  From  the  Tyagaraja  Trust,  Tirupati  in  1 992. 


'Majestic  gamaka-laden  voice  with  perfect  sruti  and  laya'  marked  the 
rendition  of  Kundrakudi  Venkatarama  Ayyar  who  came  of  a  musical  family.  Lived 
at  Sivaganga,  Had  his  musical  training  under  his  father,  Subba  Ayyar.  He  had 
choreographed  many  songs  including  those  of  Vedanayagam  Pillai,  the 
well-known  tamil  poet-  scholar-Munsif.  Ayyar's  rendition  is  praised  in  lavish 
terms  by  Kaviyogi  Suddhananda  Bharati.  His  daughter,  Balambal  was  in  the  All 
India  Radio,  Madras.  Sangita  Nataka  Sabha  had  honoured  him. 



Was  born  at  Tinniyam  village,  Tiruchirapalli  district,  of  Vaidyanatha  Sastrigal. 
Had  his  training  in  mridangam  and  vocal  under  Tinniyam  Sethurama  Ayyar. 
Venkatarama  Ayyar  had  special  training  under  Tiruvaiyaru  Subramania  Ayyar  in 
laya  intricacies.  Made  his  debut  in  1912  and  has  accompanied  all  prominent 
musicians.  Ayyar  earned  the  unique  distinction  of  being  both  a  vocalist  and  a 
mridangist  (now  TV.  Gopalakrishnan  enjoys  the  privilege)  and  was  honoured 
with  a  Certificate  of  Merit  in  1959  by  the  Music  Academy.  He  had  shaped  the 
destinies  of  many  young  aspirants.  Was  a  very  accomplished,  competent  artiste. 
Commended  respect  for  his  deft  fingering,  purity  of  rhythm  and  tonal  creations. 
His  demonstration  of  Panchagati  Mora  on  mridangam  before  the  Experts 
Committee  was  very  much  appreciated. 


The  Art  of  Playing  Mridangam 
Pallavi  Ratnamala. 

*      *      * 

DISCOURSER:  (February  21, 1880 -) 

Place  of  birth  :          Ennapadam  in  Cochin  State. 

Parents  :          Padmanabha  Ayyar  &  Sitalakshmi  Ammal  in  a  family 

devoted  to  the  twins  music  and  Sanskrit 

Musical  training  :          Under  his  elder  brother  Ratna  giriswara  Bhagavatar 

from  his  eleventh  year  and  Noorani  Parameswara 
Bhagavatar  (Ayya). 

The  brothers  were  giving  concerts  as  duo  and  after  the  demise  of  the  elder, 
Venkatarama  Bhagavatar  was  giving  solo  and  musical  discourses  also. 
Bhagavatar  attended  the  All  India  Music  Conference  at  Baroda  in  1912  with 
Veenai  Krishnamachariar  and  others.  In  earlier  years,  he  had  acted  as  second 
to  musical  discoursers. 

He  was  giving  quite  a  large  number  of  concerts  and  was  honoured  by 
Kollengode,  Cochin,  Travancore  and  Mysore  Samasthanams.  Was  honoured 
by  the  Music  Academy  in  1959  with  a  Certificate  of  Merit.  Has  composed  a 
ragamalika  in  108  ragas. 



(19th  Century  I  half) 

Melattur  near  Tanjore  is  a  fine  specimen  of  a  cultured  village  which  has 
mothered  titans  like  Tsoukam  Virabhadrayya,  guru  to  the  renowned  Ramaswami 
Dikshitar  Creativity  adopted  this  place  for  prosperity  in  the  twin  arts  of  music 
and  dance.  The  extensive  flat  terrain  with  lushy  surroundings,  interwoven  and 
intersected  by  bunds  big  and  small  symbolic  of  gamaka  modulations  -  pathways 
and  cart-tracks  -  long  and  short  denoting  extensive  raga  delineations  -  lend 
beauty  and  charm.  The  green  paddy  fields  in  diverse  geometric  shapes  illustrate 
the  variety  of  compositions  like  kritis,  javalis,  tillanas,  etc;  the  serpentine 
channels  ought  to  have  inspired  swara  prastaras;  and  the  majestic  river  abutting 
the  village  on  the  north  bringing  in  the  rejuvenating  waters  from  the 
Tanjore-Tiruvaiyaru  Belt  should  signify  the  great  traditions  and  the  boundaries 
indicated  by  Lakshana  sangeetha. 

Sevappa  Nayak,  Viceroy  of  Vijayanagar  at  Tanjore,  set  up  an  independent 
principality  thus  founding  the  Nayak  Dynasty  in  1572.  He  was  succeeded  by 
Acchyutappa  and  then  by  Reghunatha  (1600  -  c.1634),  a  liberal  patron  of  arts 
and  literature.  He  granted  Melattur  as  inam  to  501  brahmins  with  the  specific 
intention  of  promoting  art.  That  led  to  the  birth  of  the  distinct  art  of  Nataka  Mela 
which  is  celebrated  annually  there.  It  is  neither  a  drama  nor  bharatanatya,  nor 
musical  concert  nor  discourse.  It  is  a  combination  of  all  well-balanced  by 
hereditary  artistes  and  enacted. 

If  Bhama  Kalapam  is  the  sheet  anchor  of  Kuchipudi,  'Prahlada  Char/tram' 
is  the  prize-play  of  Nataka  Mela  of  Melattur.  This  and  nine  others  like  Rukmini 
Kalyanam,  Harischandra,  etc.,  were  composed  by  Venkataramana  Sastri.  The 
dance  drama  he  introduced  based  on  puranic  themes  combined  the  grace  and 
aesthetics  of  bhava,  raga  and  tala,  the  three  essentials  of  sangeetha.  Sastri  was 
playwright,  choreographer,  trainer,  director  and  manager  of  the  group  which 
performed.  His  plays  were  all  in  telugu  and  Sanskrit.  Markandeya  Charitram, 
Dhruva  Charitram  and  Sita  Kalyanam  are  among  the  natakas  Venkataramana 
Sastri  composed. 

Subbarama  Dikshitar  in  his  Sangita  Sampradaya  Pradarsini says  that  Sastri 
was  eminent  in  composing  in  kaisiki  riti,  the  most  graceful  of  the  styles  of 
composing.  Dr. V.  Raghavan  says  that  the  sampradaya  of  I/sen/  swarajati  goes 
back  ultimately  to  Sastri  and  that  the  particular  line  of  creativity  was  important 
for  yakshagana.  In  the  natakas,  rakti  ragas  have  been  mostly  used.  It  is  seen 
that  Sastri  was  attracted  by  and  laid  stress  on  youth,  the  creative  period  as  is 
seen  from  his  selection  of  Prahlada,  Markandeya,  Dhruva,  Sita  and  Rukmini  for 
his  themes.  After  all  he  was  moulding  the  youth  of  the  area  for  dramatis 
personae  and  no  wonder,  he  felt  in  tune  with  the  'Spirit  of  Youth  -  the  Eternal 
Youth  of  Music  and  Dance'.  The  Mela  is  held  during  the  Narasimha  Jayanti  at 


Melattur  and  very  occasionally  at  Saliyamangalam,  Uthukadu,  Nallur  and 
Thepperumanallur.  Uthukadu  gave  its  Venkatasubba  Ayyar  of  Krishna  Gana 
fame  and  the  last  village  gave  a  'Sivan',  the  symbol  of  charity  who  fed  millions 
of  hungry  people.  Saliyamangalam  did  not  follow  the  dance-dramas  of  Sastri  but 
those  of  Bharatam  Panchanatha  who  lived  there  and  wrote  his  plays  in  telugu. 

Dance-drama  has  had  a  hoary  antiquity  in  the  Cauvery  Delta.  Set  in 
Pat/yan?(verse)  in  various  metres  with  descriptive  passages,  narrative  links, 
dialogues  and  songs,  the  dramas  present  the  characters  dancing  and  gesturing 
to  bring  out  the  emotions  and  meaning.  They  are  enacted  in  the  open  in  the 
street  near  the  temple.  The  audience  occupy  house-steps,  pials  and  the  open. 
( I  had  done  it  in  1 961  .)The  happy  wedding  of  story  with  narration,  music,  dance 
and  exposition  was  the  delight  of  the  area  though  in  recent  decades,  the  interest 
is  less  due  to  the  presence  of  more  sophisticated  modern  avenues  for 
entertainment.  The  organisers  have  made  minor  improvements  to  suit  the 
challenge  of  the  times.  Probably  ladies  ktoo  are  likely  to  be  enlisted  to  play 
female  roles.  It  is  to  the  credit  of  Sastri  that  his  nataka  melas  are  still  held  in 
spite  of  the  aggressive  counter-pulls  facing  them. 

Venkataramana  Sastri  was  the  son  of  Gopala  Krishna  Raya  and  a  disciple 
of  Lakshmanarya.  A  great  composer,  vocalist,  sarangi  player,  actor(lady  role) 
and  a  contemporary  of  Tyagaraja,  Sastri  is  one  of  the  luminaries  of  the  Golden 
Age  of  Carnatic  music. 


Sonti  Venkatasubbiah  was  an  eminent  vocalist  and  composer  who  adorned 
the  court  at  Tanjore  with  distinction  and  fame.  His  son  Venkataramaniah  was 
equally  a  distinguished  vidwan  and  was  guru  to  Tyagaraja.  Mysore 
Vasudevacharya  records  a  narration  of  Vina  Subbanna  that  on  hearing  the 
arrival  of  Sonti  Venkataramaniah  ,  the  Mysore  Palace  Vidwan  and  Counsellor 
Venkatasubbiah,  son  of  Kuppiah  received  him  at  the  door  and  requested  him  to 
sing  Dwijavanti  raga.  Visitor  Venkataramaniah  picked  up  his  tambura  suddenly 
and  walked  out  to  come  back  a  year  later  and  give  a  thrilling  rendition  in 
Dwijawanti.  The  captivated  Venkatasubbiah  ran  to  the  palace  and  fetched 
Mummadi  Krishnaraja  Wodeyarthe  ruler  to  hear  the  fascinating  rendition,  which 
he  thought  was  for  royalty  and  gods  to  hear.  The  generous  king  retained 
Venkataramaniah,  made  him  a  Court  artiste  on  an  honorarium  of  sixty  Varahas 
and  maintained  him  in  comfort.  He  honoured  him  further  with 
kanakabhishekam.  It  is  said  that  Venkataramaniah's  wife  performed  sati  when 
her  husband  died  and  sponsor  Venkatasubbiah  who  lived  a  life  of  affluence 
made  generous  gifts  on  the  occasion  of  the  last  rites  to  Venkataramaniah 
couple  in  token  of  his  great  respect. 


Vasudevacharya  further  records  that  during  the  reign  of  Krishnaraja 
Wodeyar  IV,  the  ragalakshana  of  raga  Atana  came  up  for  discussion.  On  the 
issue  whether  Antaragandara  was  permissible,  Vina  Seshanna  explained  that 
he  had  been  taught  a  lakshana  geetha  in  Atana  composed  by  Venkataramaniah 
in  praise  of  Venkatasubbiah  in  which  antaragandhara  had  been  used  and 
demonstrated  it  by  singing  the  geetha. 

It  is  unfortunate  that  fuller  details  of  such  stalwarts  are  not  available. 


Son  of  V.K.  Krishna  Ayyangar,  Venkataramanujam  belongs  to  a  musical 
family.  Had  his  training  under  his  father  and  then  under  Thenmatam 
Varadachariar,  T.  Krishnaswamidas  and  Veena  Krishnamachariar.  Made  his 
debut  in  his  thirteenth  year  and  appeared  for  the  All  India  Radio  in  1950.  Had 
played  duo  with  T.K.  Jayarama  Ayyar,  an  eminent  violinist.  Was  Reader  in  Violin 
at  the  University  of  Benares  and  there  he  started  a  gurukula, 

Publication  :          Tyagaraja  (in  hindi) 

Sangita  Man!  Mala 

Honours  :          By  the  Madras  Music  Academy  in  1 984, 

Venkataramanujam  is  noted  for  the  pleasing  aesthetic  rich  tone  of  his  violin 
play.  Has  tuned  Tulsidas  compositions  and  has  composed  songs. 

T,  VENKATA  RAO  -  VEENA  ARTISTE:  (b.  1 905) 

Grandson  of  the  Asthana  Vidwan  of  Mysore,  Karigiri  Rao  and  son  of 
Narasinga  Rao,  Venkata  Rao  learnt  veena  from  his  grandfather  and  has 
travelled  extensively.  His  lectures  on  the  science  and  art  of  veena  play  are 
weighty  and  he  has  composed  gitas,  varnas,  kritis,  etc. 

LAVANI  VENKATA  RAO  -  COMPOSER:  (19th  century  middle) 

Author  of  the  famous  Bahattara  Mela  Ragamalika  in  marathi,  Venkata  Rao 
was  a  fine  composer  and  musician.  Asthana  vidwan  in  the  court  of  Shivaji  II  of 
Tanjore,  his  magnum  opus  was  set  to  music  by  Maha  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar,  who 
later  composed  one  in  Sanskrit  to  free  himself  from  the  cult  of  'narastutf  (praise 
of  man).  The  Melaragamalika  uses  72  mela  names  from  Kanakangi  to 
Rasikapriya..  Vaidyanatha  Ayyar  has  introduced  chittaswaras  to  each  section. 

Lavani,  the  word,  is  described  as  a  variety  of  folk  songs  in  marathi.  Many 
sonas  in  tamil  too  have  been  comoosed  in  like  stvle  in  criso  eatchv  tunes. 



1A  Garland'  presents  the  biography  of  this  eminent  composer  of  Krishna 
Gana  songs  and  the  Navavarana  kritis.  When  the  Bard  of  Uthukadu 
Venkatasubba  Ayyar  died,  Syama  Sastri  was  a  child  of  three  years  and  the  other 
two  of  the  Trinity  were  yet  to  be  born.  Since  Venkatasubba  Ayyar  occupies  an 
unique  place  in  the  line  of  divine  minstrels  and  composers  in  tamil  and  Sanskrit, 
a  few  more  facts  are  presented  here. 

While  his  love  of  Krishna  was  total  and  without  a  parallel,  his  bhakti  for 
Muruga  too  is  seen  to  be  non  pare/7  since  he  throws  open  his  own  sublime  heart 
to  Him  to  provide  a  warm,  human,  affectionate  abode  -  the  seventh.  Having 
done  so,  he  extols  Muruga  as  'Or  Ezhu  Padai  Veedu  Kanda'  -  a  lustrous 
imagination.  Having  surrendered  his  heart  to  Muruga  and  his  soul  to  Krishna, 
Ayyar  lived  a  sublimated  life  of  a  lofty  recluse.  'Rhythmic  excellence  and 
soul-filling  music  of  his  has  all  the  elements  of  bharata  natya  like  alarippu, 
sabdas,  jatiswaram,  varnam,  javali,  tillana-jatis  and  varnamettus  and  have 
therefore  become  the  favourite  of  dancers',  say  Alamelu  and  Seetharaman, 
scions  of  the  Uthukadu  family.  Rudrapatnam  N.Tyagarajan  mentions  that  the 
Uthukadu  maestro  wrote  Rudra  Sabdam,  Nandana  Geeta,  Rajagopala 
Nityotsavam,  Kalinga  Nartana  Prabhavam  and  Sri  Krishna  Ganam  with  a  part 
in  kriti  form  known  as  Raasa  padam.  No  signature  has  been  adopted  for  his 
compositions  which  are  all  his  dedication  to  his  favourite  gods,  The  Oothukadu 
Venkatakavi  Academy,  Madras  600  004  constituted  in  1988  proposes  to 
propagate  his  works.  The  rose  faded  out  long  back  but  its  fragrance  has  crossed 
the  frontiers  of  his  native  land  225  years  after  his  lifetime.  That  is  a  tribute  to  his 
amaranthine  songs,  their  beauty  and  vitality. 

Son  of  Vadula  Ramachandra  and  Kamala  Narayani,  Ayyar  was  born  in  the 
month  of  Aipasi  (Saptami-Makham  star)  (October  -  November)  at  Mannargudl 
He  had  learnt  elementary  music  from  Pooranur  Natesa  Bhagavatar  alias  Raja 
Bhagavatar  and  could  find  none  to  teach  him  further  and  ultimately  found  his 
'manasikha'  guru  in  the  Lord  Himself. 

'  Privilege  of  a  classmate  went  to  Kuchela; 
Fortune  smiled  on  Kalingan  to  provide  the  dancing  pad; 
Vijayan  was  favoured  for  the  Bhagawad  Gita  discourse; 
Sankeertan  is  reserved  for  me  to  hear',  he  claims. 

Needamangalam  Krishnamoorti  Bhagavatar  gets  the  full  credit  for  the 
propagation  and  providing  notation  for  the  Uthukadu  songs.  He  says  that  Ayyar 
was  blessed  with  God  vision  when  singing  - 

Puna/  Peru  Vellat  Tamizh      -  an  agavarpa 

Idu  Oru  Thiramamo  -  in  Begad  a  and 

Kayambu  Vannane  N ilium     -  in  M an i rang. 


Ayyar  has  'followed  the  kriti  pattern  of  the  earlier  composers  (Purandara 
Dasa  and  his  elder  contemporary  Annamacharya)  and  the  kannigal  pattern 
(number  of  stanzas  sung  to  the  same  tune)  of  the  Divya  Prabandham  of  the 
earlier  Alwars  and  sollukattus  and  sahityas  for  them  are  in  abundance  in  his 
compositions'.  —  (Prof.  K.R.  Rajagopalan) 

Once  the  Tanjore  Court  was  discussing  the  merits  of  raga 
Varunapriya'  (24th  mela)which  is  credited  with  bringing  rains.  It  is  said 
that  it  should  be  sung  under  the  jujube  (ilandai)  tree  or  at  the  north-west 
corridor  of  a  temple  or  a  place  south  of  a  vanni  tree.  Venkatasubba  Ayyar 
was  requested  to  prove  the  efficacy  of  the  raga,  'Mega  Rajumam'  is  the 
preliminary  raga  to  attract  white  clouds.  When  Mela  Ranjani  raga  is 
sung,  the  clouds  turn  black.  Rains  start  and  continue  as  long  as  the 
musician  sings  'Varunapriya'  and  the  audience  stays  put  enjoying  the 
downpour  of  melody-inducted  rains  and  rain-soaked  melody.  Ayyar 
proved  it  and  the  ruler  was  thrilled.  Venkatasubba  Ayyar  was  a  Tyagaraja 
in  life  who  had  sacrificed  everything  and  what  could  the  ruler  present  him 
with?  Venkatasubba  was  placed  in  a  palanquin  and  was  taken  round  the 
temple  with  the  ruler  presenting  his  broad  shoulders  to  bear  it  on  one  side! 
Krishnamoorti  Bhagavatar  avers  that  this  unique  honour  had  been 
extended  only  to  Swami  Vivekananda  by  the  Rajah  of  Jaipur  (and  the 
Rajah  of  Ramanathapuram  by  drawing  the  chariot)  and  a  saint  honoured 
likewise  by  the  Rajah  of  Benares  using  a  palanquin. 

Venkatasubba  Ayyar  went  upto  the  Narmada  River  with  two  of  his  disciples 
-  Pozhagudi  Jagannathan  and  Annavasal  Nilakanta  Makhi  and  embraced 
immortality.  Thirty-seven  out  of  his  289  songs  have  been  published  with  notation 
and  seventy-nine  without.  His  idol  is  kept  in  the  Uthukadu  temple.  What  is  now 
required  is,  perhaps,  a  regular  annual  aradhana.',  opines  Prof.  K.R.  Rajagopalan 
in  Shanmukha. 

The  poet,  musician  and  mystic  was  a  life-long  celibate.  R.Rangaramanuja 
Ayyangar  records  that  the  songs  were  all  preserved  in  huge  bundles  of  palm 
leaves  lodged  in  earthern  pots  and  passed  on  for  seven  generations  among  his 
brothers'  families  and  brought  to  light  only  at  the  dawn  of  this  century.  Ayyar  is 
a  fragrant  link  between  Purandara  Dasa  and  Kshetragna  and  the  Carnatic  Trinity, 

S.  VENKATASUBB1AH  -  VIOLINIST:  (20th  Cent) 

Son  of  Sampige  Ramayya  and  Gundamma,  Venkatasubbiah  learnt  violin 
under  Samanna,  made  his  debut  in  his  eighteenth  year  and  had  accompanied 
distinguished  top  vocalists  like  Tiger  Varadachariar  and  Vasudevachariar.  He  is 
reputed  to  be  highly  talented  in  rendition  of  kritis  and  elaboration  of  ragas, 



Hailed  from  Ayyampettai  in  Tanjore  district.  A  scholar  in  Sanskrit,  telugu, 
marathi  and  sourashtra  and  well-versed  in  music,  he  was  honoured  by  Shivaji 
Maharaja  of  Tanjore  with  the  title  of  Venkata  Suri'.  A  staunch  disciple  of 
Wallajahpet  Venkataramana  Bhagavatar,  prime  disciple  of  Tyagaraja,  he  has 
authored  many  works  such  as  — 

i".  A  Sanskrit  translation  of  Nauka  Charitram.  His  disciple  Salem  Puttah 
Azhagarayyar  has  translated  it  into  sourashtra. 

ii.  Sourashtra  Ramayana  following  Arunachala  Kavirayar's  Rama  Natakam. 
This  earned  him  the  honorific  of  'Sourashtra  Kavi  Chakravarti' 
Prof.  Sambamurti  says,  'His  charming  and  racy  style,  his  poetic  gifts  and 
imagery  and  his  capacity  for  vivid  and  colourful  portrayal  of  incidents  are 
all  patent  in  this  work'. 

Mysore  Sadashiva  Rao,  Sathur  Fiddle  Kuppuswami  Ayyar,  Chittoor  Kanjira 
Radhakrishnayyan  and  his  brother  Jalra  Ramayyar  and  Rayavelur  Pallavi 
Ellayya  (an  artist  whose  pictures  are  reportedly  available)  were  among  his 
co-pupils  in  the  Wallajahpet  line.  He  preserved  for  posterity  the  dates  of  birth  of 
his  guru  and  of  Tyagarajah  on  a  cadjan  leaf  which  helped  in  determining  their 
periods  correctly.- 

*     *     * 


Son  of  Yella  Ramanathan,  Venkateswara  Rao  had  his  training  under  Yella 
Somanna  and  made  his  debut  at  the  age  of  seven.  He  has  provided  percussive 
accompaniment  to  prominent  Hindustani  and  Carnatic  artistes.  He  is  Member, 
Syllabus  Committee,  Andhra  Pradesh  State  Technical  Education  Board  and 
Chief  Examiner  for  Diploma  and  Certificate  candidates.  He  has  been  coaching 
a  large  number  of  students. 

He  has  set  up  a  world  record  of  non-stop  mridangam  play  for  26.5  hours. 
Got  the  'Hoso  Bunka'  Award  from  Indonesian  authorities  for  his  'Siva 
Thandavam1  and  a  National  Award  for  his  'Nava  Mridanga1  concert  in  pallavi  set 
in  various  patterns. 


Was  born  at  Srikakulam  and  qualified  himself  in  Sanskrit  and  telugu  getting 
'Ubhayabasha  Praveena'  of  Andhra  University.  Venkateswara  Sarma  worked 
as  telugu  pandit  for  thirty  years.  Adiscipleof  Parupalli  Ramakrishnayya  Pantulu, 
Sarma  was  giving  concerts  since  the  second  decade  of  this  century. 


Venkateswara  Sarma  has  been  a  Member,  Central  Music  Audition  Board,  All 
India  Radio  and  Examiner  in  Music  for  A.P.  Government  and  Andhra  University. 
Was  Head  of  Gurukula,  Vijayawada  started  by  Andhra  Pradesh  Nataka 
Academy.  Has  translated  standard  Sanskrit  treatises  into  telugu. 

In  appreciation  of  his  services,  the  Music  Academy,  Madras  honoured  him 
with  a  Certificate  of  Merit  in  1 962. 

VIBHULANANDHA  SWAMIGAL  -  MUSICOLOGIST:   (March  26,  1892  - 1949) 

Was  born  :         at  Karerumuthur  of  Mattakalappu,  Ceylon, 

;          of  Sami  Thambiar  and  Mannammai. 

Qualifications  :          B.Sc,  (London) 

Diploma  from  the  Government  Engineering  College 
Pandithar  of  Madurai  Tamil  Sangham. 

Posts  held  :         Teacher,  St Michael  College,  Mattakalappu. 

Lecturer,  StPatric  College. 

Prof  &  Head  of  Department  of  Tamil,  Ceylon  University 
and  then  Annamalai  University  (1931-33) 

Prior  to  his  initiation  and  joining  the  Rarnakrishna  Mission  in  1924,  he  was 
known  as  Mayilvahanar.  He  started  the  Arya-Dravida  Basha  Development 
Sangham,  translated  many  works  including  Tagore's  Gitanjali,  edited  the 
prominent  journal  Prabhutha  Bharata  during  1939-42  and  authored  'Matanga 
Choodamani' on  dramatic  tamil  and  Yazh  Nod,  a  research  work  of  considerable 

The  ancient  Tamils  in  the  South  had  been  sedulously  cultivating  musical  art 
and  yazh  was  the  most  prominent  instrument  though  it  came  to  be  lost  in 
mediaeval  period.  Swami  Vibhulananda  reconstructed  Sruthi  Veenato  explain 
the  old  twenty-two  srutis. 



Sri  ChandrasekharendraSaraswati  Swamigal  of  Kanchipuram  has  made  the 
following  illuminating  allusion  to  the  prestigious  achievements  of  Advaitic  Jnanis 
even  after  their  attaining  'siddhi  in  athmanubhuti': 

'  Janaka  of  Brahadaranyaka  and  Janaka,  Sita's  father  have  been 
distinguished  rulers  even  after  siddhi.  Adi  Sankara,  the  foremost  of 
advaitis,  had  not  only  made  extensive  tours  of  Bharath  in  the  short 
span  of  his  life  but  had  won  many  an  intellectual  battle,  besides 
writing  bhkshyas,  grantas,  etc.,  and  establishing  mutts,  temples,  etc. 


Later  Vidyaranya  who  held  sway  over  one  of  Sankara's  mutts  founded 
'  and  set  the  Vijayanagar  empire  on  the  road  to  prosperity.  Samartha 
Ramadas  was  the  guide  and  philosopher  to  Maharajah  Shivaji  in  found- 
ing and  developing  the  Mahratta  Empire.  Founding  the  Nayak  Dynasty 
at  Tanjore  and  acting  as  Prime  Minister  to  the  first  three  rulers  of  the 
dynasty  was  the  achievement  of  the  confirmed  advait  Govinda  Dik- 

His  Holiness  was  citing  these  examples  to  show  that  advaitic  jnanis  were  no 
bone-dry  rustic  recluses  but  had  been  great  administrators  too. 

Vidyaranya  was  the  patron-saint  and  founder  of  the  Vijayanagar  Empire  and 
was  minister  and  teacher  to  the  rulers  Harihara  and  Bukka  I.  He  belonged  to 
the  Sringeri  Mutt  traditions.  His  exalted  eminence  is  portrayed  in  a  plaque 
showing  him  as  teacher  to  the  said  ruler  in  the  Sankara  Mutt  at  Rameswaram. 
Had  authored  many  works  like  'Panchadasi'  and  'Anubhutiprakasam'  bringing 
out  the  essence  of  Upanishads.  With  his  brother  Sayanachariar,  he  has  written 
commentaries  on  Vedas  also. 

His  contribution  to  Carnatic  music  was  equally  conspicuous.  His  work 
'Sangita  Sara' was  a  source  of  inspiration  to  later  writers.  'Sangita  Sudha*  of 
Rfeghunatha  Nayak  specifically  acknowledged  that  it  was  written  after 
consulting  'Sangita  Sara'.  The  word  Vidyaranya'  means  'Jungle  of  Knowledge' 
and  his  work  means  The  Essence  of  Music'.  It  dealt  with  fifty  ragas  then  in 
vogue.  Its  Mela  classification  was  much  older  than  that  of  'Swaramela 
Kalanidhi'.  Fifteen  melas  are  reputed  to  have  been  referred  to  in  connection 
with  janaka  and  janya  ragas.  Unfortunately  the  original  work  either  lies 
embedded  in  the  unreached  labyrinths  of  past  scholars  now  in  the  hands  of 
unintelligent  owners  or  had  been  lost. 

VIDYASHANKAR  -  VAINIKA&  PEDAGOGUE:  (b.  Deer.  28, 1919) 

Daughter  of  C.S.  Ayyar,  author,  musicologist  and  violinist  well  known  for  his 
scientific  approach  to  the  art  of  music  and  niece  of  Sir  C.V.  Raman,  Vidya 
Shankar  is  — 

a  graduate  in  Arts  and  Teaching  and 

a  disciple  in  veena  and  vocal  music  of  T.S.  Sabhesa  Ayyar,  Madras 
Sabhapati  Ayyar,  SyamaSastri  (grandson  of  the  Trinity-fame  composer) 
and  T.L  Venkatarama  Ayyar. 

She  made  her  debut  in  1 935  at  Bombay.  She  is  noted  for  the  traditional  style, 
purity  of  rendition  and  lucidity  of  exposition.  She  has  been  giving  veena  concerts 
over  the  All  India  Radio  and  elsewhere.  She  has  evolved  effective  methods  for 


Academy,  Madras,  which  had  awarded  the  Veena  Shanmughavadivu  Prize 
her  in  1973. 


The  Compositions  of  Syama  Sastri  and  his  Descendants  (with  gamaka  notations). 
Biography  of  Syama  Sastri  (NBTI) 
The  Art  and  Science  of  Carnatic  Music. 

Vidya  Shankar  had  the  unique  distinction  of  being  trained  by  a  dire 
descendant  of  Syama  Sastri  and  naturally  is  the  principal  interpreter  of  Sast 
Her  immrndr  mudicianship  and  expertise  are  in  constant  demand  f 
lecture-demonstratios,  workshops  and  lectures.  She  has  helped  the  emine 
Dr.  V.  Raghavan  in  his  research  work  for  two  years  and  has  been  impartir 
training  in  veena,  vocal  and  Sanskrit  for  over  four  decades  with  merit  and  cred 
In  his  foreword  to  her  book  The  Art  and  Science  of  Carnatic  Musi 
T,S.  Parthasarathy  has  observed: 

1  Vidya  Shankar,  eminent  vina  artiste  and  musicologist,  has  an  original  approach  tot! 
problem  of  srutis  and  has  contributed  some  original  thoughts...  has  contributed  sor? 
original  thoughts  (on)  the  complex  problem  of  srutis.' 

Occupation  &  assignments: 

Kalakshetra,  Madras  :  Taught  music,  mathematics  and  Sanskrit      -  Two  years. 

Vidya  Mandir  :  Taught  mathematics  and  Sanskrit  -  Two  years 

Central  College  of 

Carnatic  Music, 

Madras  :  Taught musicology and  music,  -Two years. 

Totally  devoted  to  the  art  and  science  of  Carnatic  music,  Vidya  Shankar  is  i 
respected  artiste  in  the  musical  sphere. 

VIJAYA  DASA  -  COMPOSER:  (1687  - 1 763 

'So  sublime  is  the  spiritual  content, 

So  elegant  and  graceful  is  the  expression, 

that  among  the  Haridasas,  Purandara  Dasa  and  Vijaya  Dasa 

stand  prominent  as  the  most  distinguished  kirthanakaras', 

wrote  M,V.  Krishna  Rao,  Vijaya  Dasa's  suladis  on  diverse  themes  are 
famous.  He  was  born  at  Chikalaparuvi  in  Raichur  district,  and  as  it  should  be; 
in  a  poor  family. 


B.S.  VUAYARAGHAVAN  -  VOCALIST:  (20th  Century) 

Vijayaraghavan  hails  from  a  musical  family  based  in  Shirnoga  in  Karnataka. 
Grandfather  Ramiah  was  a  Palace  musician  and  dancer.  Father  Seshappa  was 
a  musician  and  the  late  Devendrappa  was  his  uncle.  Vijayaraghavan  is  Reader 
in  Vocal  Music  in  the  University  College  of  Fine  Arts,  Mysore. 

*     *     * 
N.  VIJAY  SIVA  -  VOCALIST:  (b.  March  29,  1 967) 

Vijay  Siva,  son  of  Narayana  Siva  and  Akhil